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 PortmanHillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill to hold platforms accountable for misinformation during health crises | Website outages hit Olympics, Amazon and major banks Senators introduce bipartisan bill to secure critical groups against hackers Democrats pushing for changes to bipartisan infrastructure deal 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 TrumpNew Capitol Police chief to take over Friday Overnight Health Care: Biden officials says no change to masking guidance right now | Missouri Supreme Court rules in favor of Medicaid expansion | Mississippi's attorney general asks Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade Michael Wolff and the art of monetizing gossip 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.

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“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 ClintonJill Biden takes starring role at difficult Olympics Club for Growth goes after Cheney in ad, compares her to Clinton Sanders to campaign for Turner in Ohio MORE and Joe BidenJoe BidenOvernight Defense: Senate panel adds B to Biden's defense budget | House passes bill to streamline visa process for Afghans who helped US | Pentagon confirms 7 Colombians arrested in Haiti leader's killing had US training On The Money: Senate braces for nasty debt ceiling fight | Democrats pushing for changes to bipartisan deal | Housing prices hit new high in June Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill to hold platforms accountable for misinformation during health crises | Website outages hit Olympics, Amazon and major banks 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 BrownTransit funding, broadband holding up infrastructure deal Negotiators struggle to finish infrastructure deal with clock ticking For true American prosperity, make the child tax credit permanent 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 StiversNew Mexico Democrat Stansbury sworn into Haaland's old seat Retired GOP representative: I won't miss the circus, but I might miss some of the clowns The Hill's Morning Report - Census winners and losers; House GOP huddles MORE (R-Ohio) and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose. 

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On the Democratic side, Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanSix takeaways: What the FEC reports tell us about the midterm elections Schumer, Tim Scott lead as Senate fundraising pace heats up Here's what Congress is reading at the beach this summer 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.