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Sen. Rob Portman will not seek re-election in 2022

In the statement announcing the decision, he cited frustration with partisan gridlock and the difficulties he has had in getting things done in Washington.
Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 10:51 AM EST
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CINCINNATI, Ohio (WTVG) - Senator Rob Portman will not be seeking re-election when his current term ends in 2022. The senator made the announcement on Monday.

“This was not an easy decision because representing the people of Ohio has been an honor,” said Portman in a statement. “But I’ve been doing this a long time, longer than I ever intended.”

Portman was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010 and took office in 2011. In the statement announcing the decision, he cited frustration with partisan gridlock and the difficulties he has had in getting things done in Washington.

“We live in an increasingly polarized country where members of both parties are being pushed further to the right and further to the left, and that means too few people who are actively looking to find common ground,” he said, while touting his record as one of the most bipartisan senators on the Hill. “This is not a new phenomenon, of course, but a problem that has gotten worse over the past few decades.”

He concluded by thanking his family and supporters and stated that while he intended to serve out the rest of his current term, he is making the announcement now in order to allow other members of his party to launch a statewide campaign.

“In these next two years, I will continue to be actively engaged, doing my best to provide hope as we try to get through the devastating coronavirus pandemic and doing my best to help bring our great country together, to help us heal, so we address the many challenges we face together,” he concluded.

Reacting to the news, Gov. Mike DeWine said, “Senator Portman has worked tirelessly on behalf of Ohioans during his two terms in the United States Senate. Senator Portman has been a key partner on helping Ohio with federal COVID-19 relief and other pandemic-related issues. Senator Portman and I have had similar policy priorities to help Ohio families, from tackling 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 family the best in their future endeavors.”

“Rob Portman is a statesman whose service to our country and our party over nearly three decades has been invaluable,” adds a statement from the Ohio Republican Party. “His leadership and temperament will be missed in the halls of the U.S. Senate and amongst Ohio Republicans. While we have huge shoes to fill in the U.S. Senate, I thank Senator Portman for his service and hope all Ohioans will join me in recognizing his accomplishments that furthered our great state.”

Fellow Ohio senator Sherrod Brown offered his own remarks on Portman’s decision saying, “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 who are struggling with addiction. We’ve not always agreed with one another, but we’ve always been able to put our differences aside to do what’s best for our state. Connie and I thank Rob for his career of public service and wish him and Jane well.”

The local branch of Sen. Brown’s party wasn’t quite so gracious in their own statement on Sen. Portman’s choice to leave the senate, instead choosing to take the senator to task for what they view as falsities in his statement.

“Over the past four years, Rob Portman has been one of Donald Trump’s biggest defenders, so his attempt today to rewrite that history is ridiculous,” said Ohio Democratic Party chairwoman Liz Walters in a statement. “This is the guy who, when asked about Trump’s decision to attack peaceful protesters with tear gas, said he was ‘late for lunch.’ This is the guy who backed Mitch McConnell’s theft of a Supreme Court seat from President Barack Obama. If Portman wants to complain about the death of civility and the triumph of partisan gridlock, he should take a long, hard look in the mirror and think about what he wants to be his legacy.

“The truth is, Portman is looking at the same data we are -- the Ohio Senate seat was going to be a hard road for him, after he backed failed policies like the Trump tax scam and the Affordable Care Act repeal. In 2022 Ohioans want to send someone to the U.S. Senate who fights for them, not for special interests. This was always going to be a competitive race, and now it’s even more competitive.”

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