Portman won't run for reelection

Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanThe 17 Republicans who voted to advance the Senate infrastructure bill Senate votes to take up infrastructure deal Trump slams Romney, Senate GOP over infrastructure deal MORE (R-Ohio) will not seek reelection to a third term in 2022, he announced Monday morning.

Portman plans to make the announcement at a press conference in Cincinnati. In a statement, Portman cited political partisanship as a factor in his decision.

“We live in an increasingly polarized country where members of both parties are being pushed further to the right and further to the left, and that means too few people who are actively looking to find common ground,” he said. “This is not a new phenomenon, of course, but a problem that has gotten worse over the past few decades.”


Portman, 65, has spent the better part of three decades in public office. First elected to the U.S. House in 1993, he left Congress to serve in the George W. Bush administration, first as U.S. trade representative and then as director of the Office of Management and Budget.

He won election to the Senate in 2010 and handily won reelection in 2016. 

Portman built a career as a pragmatist, though one who rarely broke with conservative colleagues. In his statement, he touted 82 bills signed into law by President TrumpDonald TrumpMyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections Simone Biles, Vince Lombardi and the courage to walk away MORE and 68 signed by President Obama.

He said he will serve the remaining two years of his term, though he wanted to make an announcement early to give other candidates the time to mount their own campaigns.

“I decided to make my announcement now because I have made up my mind,” he said. “Over the next two years, I look forward to being able to focus all my energy on legislation and the challenges our country faces rather than on fundraising and campaigning.”


Portman’s exit will open a potentially competitive seat, albeit in a state that has trended toward Republicans in recent years. Republicans hold every statewide office except the seat held by Portman’s colleague, Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSchumer's moment to transform transit and deepen democracy Democrats ramp up pressure for infrastructure deal amid time crunch Senate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines MORE (D).

Republicans on Monday speculated that several members of Ohio’s delegation to Congress would explore the prospect of replacing Portman. Former Rep. Jim RenacciJames (Jim) B. RenacciGovernors' races see flood of pro-Trump candidates Former House Republican to challenge DeWine for Ohio gubernatorial nomination The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Republicans seek to sink Jan. 6 commission MORE (R) is a potential candidate, as is Josh Mandel, a former state Treasurer. Both Renacci and Mandel have lost bids against Brown in the past.

On the Democratic side, early buzz surrounded Nan Whaley, the mayor of Dayton who briefly ran for governor in 2018. Democrats also pointed to Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanHouse passes spending bill to boost Capitol Police and Hill staffer pay Tim Ryan slams McCarthy for mocking Capitol physician, mask mandate Six takeaways: What the FEC reports tell us about the midterm elections MORE (D), who holds a blue collar House district in northeast Ohio that may be erased in the next round of redistricting. 

David Pepper, a former chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party and a Hamilton County Commissioner, is also said to be interested in running.

Portman is the third Republican senator to say he will not seek another term next year, following Sens. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrThe 17 Republicans who voted to advance the Senate infrastructure bill Senate votes to take up infrastructure deal Senators say they have deal on 'major issues' in infrastructure talks MORE (R-N.C.) and Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyBlack women look to build upon gains in coming elections Watch live: GOP senators present new infrastructure proposal Sasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote MORE (R-Pa.).