Former Ohio GOP chairwoman Jane Timken launches Senate bid

Former Ohio GOP Chairwoman Jane Timken is joining the race to replace retiring 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-Ohio). 

Timken was widely expected to make a run for Portman’s seat. Prior to launching her campaign, she resigned from her role at the Ohio Republican Party and hired a handful of Portman’s former campaign aides, most notably Corry Bliss, who managed the senator's successful 2016 reelection bid.

Timken announced her candidacy in a video that leaned heavily on former President TrumpDonald TrumpGaetz was denied meeting with Trump: CNN Federal Reserve chair: Economy would have been 'so much worse' without COVID-19 relief bills Police in California city declare unlawful assembly amid 'white lives matter' protest MORE, replete with attacks on former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a prominent Republican critic of Trump, and warnings of creeping socialism in the U.S.


“We can’t let America become a socialist country,” she says in the roughly two-minute video. “I’m running for the United States Senate to stand up for you. Just like when I stood next to President Trump and supported his America-first agenda.”

“As Ohio Republican Party chairman, I cleaned house of the Kasich establishment who tried to elect Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClose the avenues of foreign meddling Pelosi planned on retiring until Trump won election: report Pence autobiography coming from Simon & Schuster MORE and Joe BidenJoe BidenFederal Reserve chair: Economy would have been 'so much worse' without COVID-19 relief bills Biden to meet Monday with bipartisan lawmakers about infrastructure Jill Biden gives shout out to Champ, Major on National Pet Day MORE,” she continues. “I unified the party and delivered a second, decisive Ohio win for President Trump.”

Timken is the second prominent Republican to enter what is expected to become a crowded primary field. Former Ohio state Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) announced his bid for Portman’s seat last week, marking his third run for the Senate after losing to Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownA bold fix for US international taxation of corporations Democrats offer competing tax ideas on Biden infrastructure Former Ohio health director won't run for Senate MORE (D-Ohio) in 2012 and ending a 2018 bid early due to family health matters.

Another prospective Republican candidate, Mike Gibbonsresigned from his role at the conservative super PAC Ohio Strong Action last week, saying that he would make a final decision on a Senate bid “in the next few weeks.”

Other potential GOP candidates include Rep. Steve StiversSteven (Steve) Ernst StiversFormer Ohio health director won't run for Senate Ohio Democrat Danny O'Connor won't seek Portman's Senate seat Meeting between Trump, Ohio Senate candidates turns tense: report MORE (R-Ohio) and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose. 


On the Democratic side, Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanTrump faces test of power with early endorsements DC delegate pushes for removing Capitol fence despite car attack Former Ohio health director won't run for Senate MORE (D-Ohio), who mounted an unsuccessful bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, is expected to run. Others said to be considering a campaign are former Columbus Mayor Mike Coleman, Ohio state House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes and Amy Acton, the former Ohio Health Department director who helped lead the state’s early response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ohio is one of 20 states in which Republicans are playing defense in the 2022 midterms. Portman’s retirement has made it an especially tempting target for Democrats, who are eager to expand their ultra-narrow Senate majority. 

But the state is almost certain to pose a challenge for Democrats. 

Ohio has drifted to the right in recent years, handing 8-point victories to Trump in both 2016 and 2020. Meanwhile, Democrats have seen few successes in other statewide races, with the exception of Brown’s 2018 victory.