Cleveland Plain Dealer urges Portman to reconsider retirement

Cleveland newspaper The Plain Dealer published an editorial Wednesday urging Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSenators huddle on Russia sanctions as tensions escalate Bipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election law Democrats face scaled-back agenda after setbacks MORE (R-Ohio) to run for reelection despite his retirement announcement last year.

The Plain Dealer’s editorial board wrote, “Sen. Portman, if you are serious about wanting to rebuild our ‘American consensus,’ we ask that you reconsider your retirement and seek a third term in the U.S. Senate.”

A tense Republican primary for Portman’s seat influenced The Plain Dealer’s plea; the editorial described the primary as a “cavalcade of intemperate, cruel, ill-judged, narrow-minded and explosive rhetoric designed to divide not unite.”

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False claims about the legitimacy of the 2020 election are at the forefront of the Republican Senate primary, the board wrote.

The board stated that these are “lies that don’t just bust apart hopes to rebuild any consensus in America, but also that continue to shred the very heart and soul of the traditional conservative Republican Party values you have served so ably over your long career of public service.”

The newspaper urged Portman to step in as a “sober, reasoned, reasonable voice” on the Republican side who has a chance of winning the election.

“Otherwise, we’re hurtling toward two possible outcomes in the Senate race, either one of which we know will pain you deeply: a Republican nominee and senator who wins through lies and fealty to a lie, or a Democratic senator who wins primarily because the Republican nominee so alienates average Ohioans with toxic, extremist rhetoric," the board wrote.

The Plain Dealer acknowledged political differences with Portman, but praised him for his willingness to compromise and respect for others.

“Sen. Portman, as you well know, our editorial board has not exactly been 100% in favor of some of what you stand for, or what you sat down for during the Trump years,” the board wrote. “Yet that’s what governing and compromise are about. We don’t always agree, but we respect each other’s opinions and work toward consensus.”