Portman backs Timken as successor in Ohio
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) will back former Ohio Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Timken as his chosen successor in an attempt to boost her through a crowded GOP field later this year.
In a statement released Wednesday, Portman said Timken would be the candidate best positioned to keep his seat in Republican hands in the midterm elections.
“I believe Jane Timken is the best candidate to advance conservative Republican policies to help Ohio workers and families. Jane is smart and hard working, and understand the needs of Ohioans,” Portman said. “I am confident in her ability to win both the primary and the general elections, ensuring that this Seante seat remains Republican with a 50-50 Senate, and so much at stake.”
Portman’s move will elevate Timken as she vies with better-known and better-funded contenders, some of whom have already spent millions on their own campaigns.
Recent polls have shown Timken trailing those other candidates. A survey conducted earlier this month by the Trafalgar Group, a Republican polling firm, found former state Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) leading the field with 21 percent of the vote. Businessman Mike Gibbons (R) took 16 percent, and author and venture capitalist J.D. Vance took 14 percent.
The poll showed state Sen. Matt Dolan (R) and Timken tied at about 10 percent apiece. A quarter of Republican voters surveyed had not yet made up their mind.
Gibbons and Dolan have contributed more than $10 million apiece to their respective campaigns. Vance is benefitting from the support of Peter Thiel, the libertarian venture capitalist who has put $10 million into a super PAC supporting his race. The powerful Club for Growth backs Mandel, who ran for and lost a U.S. Senate seat in 2012.
Timken has loaned her own campaign $3.5 million, and raised another $3.4 million on top of that.
Portman and Timken have both personal and political ties. Portman’s wife Jane had already endorsed Timken’s campaign, and Portman’s former top strategist, Corry Bliss, is Timken’s chief political adviser.
Several other prominent Republicans have waded into the race to influence Ohio Republicans’ decisions. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) back Mandel and Gibbons has support from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), with whom he shares political advisers; Vance has support from Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.).
The winner of the May 3 primary will likely face Rep. Tim Ryan (D) in November.
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