Senator Rob Portman’s surprise announcement that he would not seek a third term made what would appear to be re-election a wide-open race. Well don’tThe wide open to being forgiven for being skeptical of the dying Ohio Democratic Party’s ability to vote in statewide elections if someone other than Sherrod Brown does vote. But it’s certainly more open than it was if Portman wanted to stay in his job.
For now, though, I want to focus on the Republicans. Your side of it is far more interesting anyway, in part because anyone who wins this area code should be preferred to win the seat given recent trends. But mostly because the person who emerges as the front runner for the nomination will tell us a great deal about the direction of the Republican Party in the post-Trump era, and that is something that desperately needs a sentiment review.
After Donald Trump’s defeat and reluctant departure from office, there are essentially two Republican parties: the Republican establishment, made up of the likes of Portman, Governor Mike DeWine and whoever supports the Chamber of Commerce at the moment, and the Far- Right-wing extremists and conspiracy theorists who fanatically support Trump and who may not be in favor of violent coups designed to overthrow democratic elections think that it is at least worth listening to those who do.
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So far Ohio has tended to favor the earlier group, at least in national elections. The closest to the latter that we have elected to national office are former Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, who worked with Trump’s transition team four years ago, and the former chartered accountant and Lt. Governor Mary Taylor, who tried to join Trump when she ran for governor in 2018, each of these two reached their political climax before Trumpism hit the scene, and they have since lost elections and / or have been out of sight devices. While Ohio certainly has some high profile Trumpists, like U.S. Representative Jim Jordan, these politicians tend to represent heavily conservative, highly-courted districts. Aside from Trump himself, this type of candidate wasn’t really tested in a nationwide race in Ohio.
With that in mind, one might assume it was a Portman type– – a largely moderate member of the party’s non-mad wing, at least in appearance (Portman was still voting with Trump more than 88 percent of the time)– – I have no doubt that Portman himself and other relatively moderate Republicans will work to put their weight behind such a candidate in the run-up to next year’s primary. However, someone who has spent the majority of their time with the Ohio Republican Party grassroots base in Ohio over the past few years believes that Ohio Republicans don’t want your standard, normal and moderate, and ready to get involved with Trump and follow his lead forward.
“President Donald J. Trump is our party’s chairman,” said former Ohio Republican Party leader Jane Timken in her resignation letter last Friday. Timken, almost certainly planning to run for Portman’s seat, vowed to “advance America First conservative policies to strengthen Ohio”.
Translation: “I’ll try to be Donald Trump from Ohio.” Given that even after the U.S Capitol uprising, the National Republicans are showing no real signs of giving up on Trump and Trumpist messaging, there is no reason to believe that Timken will be alone as a Trumpist in primary school.
Increasingly red Ohio is no longer the national state it used to be, but given a Senate primary look that appears to be the most well-known test of Trumpism’s enduring appeal between now and the next presidential election, we’re sure to be a bellwether for that Future of the republican party.