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 PortmanNew Mexico Democrat tests positive for COVID-19 breakthrough case Warner tests positive for breakthrough COVID-19 case Marjorie Taylor Greene endorses JD Vance in Ohio Senate race 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 TrumpDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors Former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz elected to Baseball Hall of Fame Overnight Health Care — Senators unveil pandemic prep overhaul 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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 ClintonThe Armageddon elections to come Poll: Trump leads 2024 Republican field with DeSantis in distant second The politics of 'mind control' MORE and Joe BidenJoe BidenDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors On The Money — Vaccine-or-test mandate for businesses nixed Warner tests positive for breakthrough COVID-19 case 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 BrownBiden's year two won't be about bipartisanship  These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Biden calls Intel's B investment to build chip factories a tool for economic recovery 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 StiversGOP lawmaker adheres to term limit pledge, won't run for reelection Members of Congress not running for reelection in 2022 Republican Mike Carey wins special election for Ohio House seat MORE (R-Ohio) and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose. 

ADVERTISEMENT

On the Democratic side, Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanCooper becomes latest House Democrat to not seek reelection Marjorie Taylor Greene endorses JD Vance in Ohio Senate race The Hill's Morning Report - Biden, NATO eye 'all scenarios' with Russia 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.