OH-Sen: Two-Time Bush Appointee Jumps In
by Jonathan Singer, Mon Jan 12, 2009 at 07:41:20 AM EST
What's the only thing better for the Republicans than running a Bush-appointee in the stead of a retiring GOP Senator who would have more likely than not won reelection in his swing state had he sought another term? Running a two-time Bush-appointee.
Former Republican congressman Rob Portman will announce that he is running for the Senate soon after Ohio Sen. George Voinovich's retirement announcement, according to multiple Republican sources.
Portman would give Senate Republicans an accomplished candidate who is likely to clear the primary field.
"He's great on both policy and politics, and you don't often find that combination," said Hamilton County Republican party chairman Alex Triantafilou. "His experience in government, his experience in Washington and his understanding of Ohio would make him a tremendous force in the Senate."
Portman would likely clear the Republican primary field, with other leading candidates unlikely to challenge him. A strong fundraiser from his days in the House, Portman is expected to have little trouble raising the millions necessary to mount a formidable statewide campaign. (He also has over $1.5 million remaining in his House campaign committee, which he can transfer over for a Senate race.)
While Rob Portman will likely try to run as a former Ohio Congressman, the Democrats shouldn't have too difficult of a time tying him to George W. Bush, particularly considering that the President tapped Portman to serve as United States Trade Representative and Director of the Office of Management and Budget over the last three and a half years. Making the 2010 Ohio Senate election about George W. Bush won't be enough to put the Democrats over the top -- but it's not a bad start. And considering recent Democratic successes in the state (Barack Obama carrying Ohio last fall, the Democrats picking up multiple U.S. House seats in the past two cycles, and Ted Strickland and Sherrod Brown winning the 2006 Governor and Senate elections, respectively), as well as the strong Democratic bench in the state (including Reps. Tim Ryan, Zack Space and Betty Sutton, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, and others), this should be a top-tier race and a tossup.