Sen. Rob PortmanRob PortmanRepeal of Obama drilling rule stalls in the Senate Chamber pressures red-state Dems to back Trump on cutting regs GOP govs: ObamaCare repeal bill shifts 'significant' costs to states MORE’s (R-Ohio) campaign announced on Tuesday that his reelection efforts now have the support of 500 elected Republican officials across the state.
The list of backers includes Gov. John Kasich, Speaker John Boehner, who represents Ohio's 8th District, and the entire Ohio Congressional delegation, including former Republican Study Committee head Jim Jordan, a well-regarded voice among conservatives in the House.
That list of endorsements has since doubled, as Portman has picked up the backing of dozens of Ohio state legislators, GOP county chairs, and members of the state central committee.
The campaign has set up a website with the goal of reaching 5,000 endorsements from Ohioans by the end of the month.
It’s meant as a statement of strength to challengers on the left and the right.
Former Gov. Ted Strickland (D-Ohio), president of the Center for American Progress Action Fund in Washington, is seriously considering a run for Senate and has said he will announce by the end of the month.
He is by far the most imposing potential challenger on the Democratic bench, and his candidacy would set up a battle between Ohio political heavyweights.
So far P.G. Sittenfeld, a young city councilman from Cincinnati, is the only Democrat in the field. He’s a rising star in the party, but Democrats in the state believe it will be difficult for the first-timer to take out an incumbent as entrenched as Portman.
Some conservatives in the state would like to see a Tea Party challenge to Portman, but with his growing endorsements and funds, the prospect seems increasingly unlikely.
“The establishment’s intent is to eliminate competition, and releasing those figures on his war chest and the endorsements from elected officials was clearly an attempt to scare challengers off,” Tom Zawistowski, a Tea Party leader in the state, told The Hill last month. “We don’t have anywhere near that kind of money. We can make up for it in the ground game, but the question [for a Tea Party] candidate is whether it’s a fight you can win.”