The announcement by Republican US Senator Rob Portman that he would not stand for re-election sparked shock waves in all political areas of Ohio on Monday. The response ranged from not surprised to, in the case of Democrats, cheerful.
Bob Paduchik, who oversaw President Donald Trump’s campaign in Ohio, posted on Twitter Monday that he was not surprised that Portman was pulling out of a re-election campaign and expected “great interest in this open space”.
Portman “helped pass the Trump tax cuts and the First Step Act, he’s done big things! DC politics just doesn’t suit Portman today. Proud to have driven his first race,” wrote Paduchik.
Portman was a punching bag for Democrats who liked to say he hadn’t done enough in the past four years to stand up to President Donald Trump. Democratic activists celebrated Portman’s decision on Monday.
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Newly-elected Ohio Democratic Party leader Liz Walters said the race would always be competitive, but Portman’s news makes it worse.
“Prepare the popcorn to see R’s primary fireworks display,” she wrote on Twitter.
In a prepared statement by the Ohio Democratic Party, Walters opened up Portman’s tenure in the Senate.
“If Portman is to complain about the death of courtesy and the triumph of the partisan traffic jam, he should take one long hard look in the mirror and think about what he wants his legacy to be,” she said. “The truth is, Portman is looking at the same data as we are – the Ohio Senate seat would be a tough road for him after supporting failed policies like Trump tax fraud and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. In 2022, the Ohioans want to send someone to the U.S. Senate to fight for them, not for special interests. “
Here’s how others reacted to news of Portman’s decision:
Jane Timken, chair of the Ohio Republican Party
Jane Timken, Ohio Republican Party leader, called Portman “a statesman” whose service has been invaluable over three decades.
“His leadership and temperament are missing in the halls of the US Senate and among Republicans in Ohio,” Timken said in a statement. “While we have huge shoes to fill in the US Senate, I thank Senator Portman for his service and I hope all Ohioans will recognize with me his accomplishments that have furthered our great state.”
Governor Mike DeWine
Governor Mike DeWine praised Portman’s work during his two terms in the U.S. Senate and praised his help in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Sen. Portman and I had similar policy priorities serving families in Ohio, from fighting the opioid crisis and the scourge of human trafficking to protecting Lake Erie and Ohio’s other natural wonders. Fran and I wish Rob and Jane and their families all the best for your future endeavors, “DeWine said in a prepared statement.
Addressed to Portman’s press conference at a press briefing on Monday, DeWine said Ohio needs a Senator “like Sen. Portman, who has a great love for Ohio and someone who understands Ohio and who will roll up their sleeves every day Difference for Ohio and the people of Ohio. “
“Rob Portman did an absolutely phenomenal job,” DeWine said, highlighting Portman’s leadership in fighting the opioid epidemic and substance abuse.
“During the pandemic, I spoke to Sen. Portman many, many times … he was there for us, he was a point of contact,” DeWine said.
US Senator Sherrod Brown
Portman’s colleague in the U.S. Senate, Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, said in a written statement that the two have worked together on multiple occasions to try to make Ohio better.
“Rob and I have worked together on issues that matter to Ohioans, from protecting the health of Lake Erie to better enforcing our trade laws to helping Ohioans struggle with addiction. We didn’t always agree, but we could always put our differences aside to do what was best for our state. Connie and I thank Rob for his civil service career and wish him and Jane all the best, “he said in the prepared statement.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell described Portman’s imminent retirement as a “great loss to the entire Senate”.
“For a decade, our Ohio colleague has been one of the most competent and effective senators on both sides of the aisle. His mastery of politics, experience in various branches of government, friendly attitude, and relentless focus on results have made him one.” mighty force for good and an advocate of Ohioans among the presidential administrations of both parties, “he said in a prepared statement.” Both the Republican conference and the institution as a whole will be worse off if Rob leaves. Fortunately, in the meantime, we still have two years to continue drawing on his knowledge, principles and commitment as we continue to fight for American families. “
US Representative Brad Wenstrup, R-Columbia Tusculum
US Representative Brad Wenstrup, R-Columbia Tusculum, praised Portman’s work on the opioid crisis and “an advocate of decency and respect.”
“Rob has always helped me through the intricacies of congressional service and was available for advice, consultation, and debate. Monica and I are among the many blessed to call Rob and Jane friends,” Wenstrup said in one written article explanation. “I have been called to serve in the public service my entire life – as a doctor, a soldier, and a congressman. In the weeks ahead, I look forward to speaking with my family, Ohio Republicans, and supporters about how I continue to do my best.” serve our community, our state and our country. “
US Representative Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo
US Representative Marcy Kaptur, a Democrat from Toledo, said Portman served “honorably” during his tenure in the Senate, describing his retirement as a “deep loss” on issues related to the Great Lakes.
“If necessary, he worked in the bicameral area and across party lines to find solutions on behalf of our constituents. I have recognized his deep interest in combating the real threats to freedom around the world and his vigilant partnership in maintaining territorial sovereignty among nations on the European continent. We share a deep commitment to strengthening the transatlantic alliance, “she said in a prepared statement.
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose said the two-term senator “has long been what our founders hoped for an official when they wrote our constitution.”
Former Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper
On Monday, former Ohio Democratic Party leader David Pepper, viewed in some circles as a potential statewide candidate in 2022, speculated that Portman’s decision was due to a potentially difficult primary.
“So much to learn how far you can fall if you don’t have the guts in politics. Let’s hope he’s doing the right thing now,” Pepper wrote in a tweet.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, a non-reelection Democrat investigating a statewide run, said she was surprised by Portman’s announcement.
“We make decisions about the nationwide office and will continue to make those decisions,” she said in an interview.
“One of my challenges with Sen. Portman is that he always wanted it to go both ways. The overall problem with Republicans in Ohio was that they would turn to Trump and then pretend they were different … your party has an existential crisis with people like Mike DeWine and Rob Portman, “said Whaley.
Rick Scott, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee
Rick Scott, chairman of the NRSC, celebrated Portman’s tenure in Washington, DC in a prepared statement, praising his work on economic issues, the opioid epidemic and tax reform.
“Rob is an invaluable member of the Senate Republican Conference and will be greatly missed by his colleagues on both sides of the aisle. We are all grateful for his decades of service to our nation, “said Scott.
“The Ohio 2022 elections begin today and the Republicans will hold that seat. The NRSC will fight tirelessly in Ohio to ensure Senator Portman’s successor supports a growth-, family- and Ohio-friendly agenda – not the radical left agenda of higher taxes, bigger government, open borders and a weakened America . ”