Democrat P.G. Sittenfeld, a 30-year-old Cincinnati city councilman, announced Thursday he will run for U.S. Senate in Ohio, potentially setting up a challenge to incumbent Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGOP Ohio Senate candidate asked to leave RNC retreat To encourage innovation, Congress should pass two bills protecting important R&D tax provision The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings MORE (R).

Sittenfeld, who has been traveling the state meeting with donors and political operatives about a potential bid, announced on his website that “it’s time for a new generation of leaders.”

"Now, more than ever, Ohio needs leaders who embrace technology and innovation; who see our diversity as an asset; and who are committed to engaging and empowering the public,” he wrote. “As Ohio's next U.S. Senator, I will fight for good-paying jobs that can support a family — rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and investing in a clean energy future. I’ll put money back in the pockets of working people by raising the minimum wage and closing unfair loopholes. I’ll expand educational opportunity and help bring down crippling student loan debt. And I’ll work to strengthen retirement security for all Americans.”

Sittenfeld, so far, is the only Democrat to enter the race, and he has a lot of buzz right now.

“He’s very impressive, and he’s being taken very seriously,” Tim Burke, chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party in Ohio, told The Hill earlier this week. “He’s a heck of an organizer … terrific on the issues and well-studied. Anyone selling him short is making a real mistake.”

Sittenfeld is young and telegenic, and Democrats call him a “next-generation candidate” and a rising star in the party. Still, they acknowledge that a U.S. Senate race will be of a greater magnitude than anything he’s taken on before.

Andrea Bozek, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said Democrats look desperate running a first-timer.

“Clearly, national Democrats have hit rock bottom if they are hitching their electoral hopes in Ohio to an overly ambitious 30-year-old city councilman whose Senate candidacy is nothing more than a disingenuous attempt to get closer to his ‘hero’ President Obama and his reckless policies,” she said in a statement. “While Rob Portman wakes up every day fighting for Ohio families, P.G. Sittenfeld wakes up thinking about what office he can run for next to advance his political career.”

Sittenfeld would have his work cut out for him to make it through the primaries if former Gov. Ted Strickland (D), who has said he’s considering a run, gets in. Strickland is by far the most imposing potential challenger on the Democratic bench, and his candidacy would set up a battle of Ohio political heavyweights between himself and Portman.

But Portman will be difficult for anyone to take out. He has $5.8 million in his campaign war chest and the backing of essentially every elected Republican in the state.