Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) announced on Monday he will not seek reelection in 2022, citing a “partisan gridlock” that has made it more difficult to “make progress on substantive policy.”
“Today, I am announcing that I have made a decision not to run again in 2022,” said Portman in a statement. “This was not an easy decision because representing the people of Ohio has been an honor.”
“It has gotten harder and harder to break through the partisan gridlock and make progress on substantive policy, and that has contributed to my decision,” added Portman.
The senator went on to mention the “increasingly polarized country” Americans are living in today, adding “this is a tough time to be in public service.”
“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,” said Portman.
“This is not a new phenomenon, of course, but a problem that has gotten worse over the past few decades,” the senator added. “This is a tough time to be in public service.”
Portman was elected to the Senate in 2010 following the retirement of Senator George Voinovich (R-OH). Prior to that, Portman served in the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio’s 2nd congressional district from 1993 to 2005.
In his statement, the senator went on to say he hopes President Joe Biden will “follow through on his inaugural pledge to reach across the aisle,” adding that he is “prepared to work with him and his administration if he does.”
Portman also touted his own ability to reach across the aisle, noting he has “consistently been named one of the most bipartisan senators.”
“During my service in the Senate, I am proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish for Ohio and the country,” said Portman. “I have consistently been named one of the most bipartisan Senators. I am proud of that and I will continue to reach out to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find common ground.”
Bipartisanship, however, might not be something Ohioans are interested in.
Following the 2020 presidential election, analysts no longer consider Ohio to be a swing state. Its “blue wall” was breached in 2016 by then presidential candidate Donald Trump, and has remained so in the 2020 election, suggesting the Ohio GOP may have acquired a new type of Trump-esque constituency across the state.
Moreover, in the 2020 presidential election, then-President Trump had also won Ohio at a higher percentage than Texas, which is known for being a traditionally strong red state.
Meanwhile, calls to challenge Ohio Governor Mike DeWine in the 2022 Republican primary have surfaced, while Ohio lawmakers — such as Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and former Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH) — have leveled a significant amount of criticism at the governor, mostly for the COVID-related restrictions his administration has imposed, reports The Columbus Dispatch.
Last week, the Clermont County Republican Party Central Committee passed a resolution asking the Ohio Republican Party to not endorse DeWine in the 2022 primary election, according to a report by The Highland County Press.
“DeWine has flagrantly and repeatedly violated the U.S. Constitution, the Ohio Constitution and civil rights,” said former State Rep. John Becker (R-Clermont County). “He has lockstep support from the Democrats for a reason.”
“He’s the most liberal governor we’ve had in recent history and must be defeated by any legal means necessary,” he added.