January 14th, 2009
10:34 AM ET
9 years ago

Portman makes Senate run official

Portman is running for Senate in Ohio.

Portman is running for Senate in Ohio.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Rob Portman announced Wednesday he's running for the soon-to-be vacant Senate seat from Ohio, three days after fellow Republican Senator George Voinovich announced he would retire rather than run for re-election when his term ends in 2010.

Portman was a southern Ohio congressman for 12 years before joining the Bush administration as U.S. Trade Representative and budget director.

Related: Senate Republicans brace for ominous 2010

"My heart is in public service,” Portman said in a widely-expected statement released by his campaign. “Just as it was an honor to serve the people of Southern Ohio in the U.S. House of Representatives for 12 years, so it would be an honor to serve all Ohioans in the U.S. Senate. At a difficult time in our state and national economy, I believe I can make a positive difference in the lives of people throughout Ohio."

Voinovich won re-election to his Senate seat by 18 points in 2004. But Democrats have since had success in Ohio, winning two statewide races in 2006. Republican Sen. Mike DeWine was ousted by Democratic congressman Sherrod Brown, and the Democrats took back the governor's office as Rep. Ted Strickland overwhelmingly defeated former GOP secretary of state Ken Blackwell. And this past November, Barack Obama won the state by 4 points over John McCain in the presidential election.

Recent Democratic success is likely linked to tough economic times in Ohio. Portman gave a nod to the state’s “economy is in crisis” and pledging “common-sense policies and innovative solutions that will bring jobs and opportunities back to Ohio."

The election may be more than a year-and-a-half away, but Portman's early move is strategic: The 52-year-old candidate has strong fundraising credentials, and is expected to easily raise the money needed to run statewide in Ohio. Today’s announcement move may dissuade potential Republican rivals from jumping into the race for GOP nomination.

He may be an overwhelming favorite in his own party, but Democrats feel Portman is beatable - politically vulnerable because of his ties to the Bush administration.

Filed under: Rob Portman
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. david

    The last time a Republican had a good idea to help people out and innovative thinking to make things better was the 1840s when the party was formed. It didn't work then and will not work now or in the future. The only people the Republicans, and to think of it the Democrats, are other Republicans, if a Democrat other Democrats. That thing about capable of raising all the money needed to run for the office sounds like bought and paid for by those who wish to profit from his being elected to office,

    January 14, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  2. The Other Campaign Strategist @ 115th & Amsterdam Ave

    Had McCain picked this guy for VP, he might have won.

    Instead he went for the flirt in the skirt. Flirting in this case pertains to a love affair with the religious right conservative crowd that can be swayed by coded bigoted appeals.

    McCain knew ZERO about the economy. Portman was an economic guy .... from the state of Ohio, I might add.

    Bad decision GOP...

    January 14, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  3. bill

    god not another bushie.look out ohio.we have one in indiana.mitch daniels.govenor a piece of crap.

    January 14, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  4. Simon

    what and AWESOME job he has done for US trade and budgeting – MORON!

    January 14, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  5. sharon

    Portman is a smart politicain. I am glad for the people of Ohio.

    January 14, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  6. Steve McKenney

    I truly hope that Joe the Plumber...er...correspondent...err...whatever he is today runs for the spot as well! Imagine the media spotlight on that election alone!

    January 14, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  7. Purple Microdot

    Smart move by Portman and the GOP. This pick may keep this Ohio senate seat in the GOP column.

    January 14, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  8. Barack wins and America Capitalism and the Productive will lose?

    Hey don't worry Portman, after two years of stimulus packages that don't really help and drive us deeper in a hole, Democrats will be reeling from losses in 2010. It should be an easy win for you and the conservative movement that espouses to help the productive succeed and not just give handouts to the unproductive amongst us.

    January 14, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  9. DB25

    Here come the ads linking Rob Portman to G W Bush, the most unpopular president in history.

    January 14, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  10. Rupe

    Mr. Portman was my representative for years, and I have always supporrted him, despite my leaning towards the Democratic Party. He is smart and capable of fulfilling this positions. Good Luck Rob.

    January 14, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  11. Darth Vadik, CA

    ALL OF THE RAPEUBLICANS (see what I wrote below).

    January 14, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  12. Terry

    Hopefully the good citizens of Ohio will not elect this Conservative Republican. Conservatives have opposed, delayed, or blocked every worthwhile proposal and reform since they opposed the abolition of slavery in the mid-1800s. Conservatism is down. All good citizens should start kicking it and keep kicking it until it is dead.

    January 14, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  13. Darth Vadik, CA

    I was very disturbed yesterday to read all the hate filled posts about the gay Bishop being a part of inauguration.

    If you think I’m naive, think again. I just thought all the bigots knew to stay in their holes and live out the rest of their lives in misery hating anything different from them. I was wrong as I am occasionally. But this I am not wrong about,

    I have had enough of bigots hiding behind God, flag or patriotism. Which God is it anyway? The God who that told Moses to slaughter whole towns, or the one that flooded the earth and killed everything on it except Noah and a couple of each animals. Maybe the one that tells the Taliban to cuts heads off people who think out of the box. Or the one that tells some Christians that being dark skinned is a sin too.

    Oppression is oppression in any way you look at it. Disliking somebody for their sexual preference is the same as disliking someone for not liking broccoli. Oh but it’s a sin, yeah right. Sin from the same God who kills anything “he” dislikes.

    Stop hiding behind your, so called, perverted “morality” and fight with facts. Oh sorry, you can’t, you’d rather believe in fairy tales with talking snakes and lakes of fire. Sounds more like a Stephen King tale than a story about God. But then again, bigots like that kind of creepy, kinky, horror story anyway.

    Get a life.

    Darth Vadik

    January 14, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  14. jeff

    This is no conservative Republican. This is a deficit-loving LIBERAL NEOCON who voted for more unbalanced budgets than he has fingers.


    January 14, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  15. buckeye

    Joe the Plumber is the obvious choice for the GOP.

    January 14, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  16. Sherrol in Canada

    His 'heart is in public service', but is it in the right place? He's alot younger than Voinovich, so hopefully he is more of this era and not stuck in the stone age like most Republicans.

    January 14, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  17. sandee in Portland

    He's already been in office 12 years. That more than long enough. Term limits should be in effect for these guys so they can't be in office long enough for personal gain. The object of running for a political office is to serve your country, not yourself.

    January 14, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  18. Jackie in Dallas

    Does being the Bush administration U.S. Trade Representative and budget director really qualify him to run for office in THIS economy? Ohio, think carefully!

    January 14, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  19. DP

    To Terry – Learn some history. The party of Lincoln was the Republican (Whig) party. They did not oppose abolishing slavery. They did abolish slavery.

    January 14, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |