WASHINGTON — Ohio is at the center of the national political conversation this week with the news that U.S. Senator Rob Portman will be retiring at the end of his term in 2022.
Speculation has already begun on who will run to replace the 65-year-old Republican. Portman's Ohio counterpart in the U.S. Senate, Democrat Sherrod Brown, weighed in on the topic when asked during a videoconference with reporters on Thursday. He started first with members of his own party.
"Lots of people are interested," Brown began. "I hear the name Congressman (Tim) Ryan, I've not yet spoken to Toledo's Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, I know that (former) Mayor (Michael) Coleman of Columbus has shown interest. I think Congresswoman (Joyce) Beatty has shown interest."
Brown also mentioned Dr. Amy Acton, the former director of the Ohio Department of Health, as a candidate that has shown interest in running on the Democratic side.
"There's not an open seat very often in the U.S. Senate. I think you will find lots of people thinking about it, looking at it," said Brown. "I like all of those candidates. I would be happy with any of them as a seatmate in the U.S. Senate."
Brown spoke several hours before word got out that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) would not be running next year to replace Portman. During the videoconference, Brown felt that the 56-year-old Jordan was 'the most likely Republican' to vie for the seat.
“He’s been a total Trump guy, to the point that he’s made excuses for the riots and insurrection. He is extreme that way,” Brown said. “I think he’d lose the general election, but he’s the one I hear most Republicans talk about.”
One other high-profile Ohio Republican who won't be running for the Senate next year is Lt. Gov. Jon Husted. "After contemplating running for the Senate for 48 hours, I was reminded how much I enjoy the challenges of my present job... I intend to keep doing this job, run for reelection, and one day in the future, I intend to run for governor," Husted wrote in a post on Twitter on Wednesday.
Portman pointed to two main reasons why he is stepping down during his own conference call with reporters earlier this week. "The commute is no fun," he said. "I'm looking forward to being home with my family." In addition to his decade in the Senate, Portman has had a long career working in Washington for two presidential administrations and as a member of the House.
The other reason for Portman's abrupt decision to leave the Senate after next year is due to the continuing partisan gridlock in Washington. "It's getting harder and harder to get things done," he admitted.
- Rep. Tim Ryan invites President Biden to visit Lordstown Motors, attend 'Voltage Valley' roundtable
- Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour? Sen. Sherrod Brown joins top Democrats in proposing new 'Raise the Wage' bill
- Report: Former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel not interested in U.S. Senate run