Sen. Rob Portman endorses Kasich

Sen. Rob Portman endorses Kasich
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Sen. Rob PortmanRob PortmanMcConnell to pin down colleagues on healthcare Unhappy senators complain about healthcare process Thune: Progress being made on Medicaid 'wraparound' MORE (R-Ohio) announced Saturday that he will throw his support behind his home-state governor, John Kasich, in the GOP presidential race.

“I have known John for over 20 years and consider him a good friend,” Portman wrote in a statement released by the Kasich campaign.

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“Governor Kasich has done a great job leading Ohio’s comeback, and I believe he is needed now to do the same for our country as the next President of the United States.”

Portman, who is facing a tight race this fall, had for months said he would remain neutral in the race. He will now take a leadership role in the Kasich campaign, as the national co-chair.

Portman said he made the decision after a long phone call with Kasich this week, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

Portman and Kasich overlapped several years in the Ohio state legislature and were both elected statewide in 2010.

Portman is facing Democratic former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, who has been backed by Democratic heavyweights like Bill Clinton. Polls from the fall show the two in a statistical tie. 

Earlier this week, Portman announced that he had broken Ohio's fundraising record in 2015 with a $10 million haul.