OH-Sen: Two-Time Bush Appointee Jumps In

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.

Tags: bush administration, OH-Sen, Ohio, Retirements, Rob Portman, Senate 2010 (all tags)

Comments

6 Comments

Ohio bloggers handicap Dem Primary

Looks like Portman, but I'd like to see Joe the Plumber run.

I think Tim Ryan is the clear senate frontrunner, but here's what some Ohio bloggers are saying:

Buckeye State Blog (will they change the name back to Buckeye Senate Blog?):

My grassroots favorite pick is not Paul Hackett.  It's Congressman Tim Ryan.  Ryan is young, motivational, and become a blogsphere celebrity with his floor speeches about the Iraq war.  However, Ryan hasn't been in office long.  He has been awarded some plum committee assignments in this Congress, and a safe Congressional seat is a hard  thing to give up, especially when you know that Jim Traficant is about to be released from prison and EVERYONE is wondering what he's going to do when he's released.  On the legislative achievement side, Ryan's resume is rather thin, but that's an issue insiders focus on far more than voters really care about.

From what I know about Ryan, he's an ideological match for areas in Ohio that Democrats historically haven't done well in (think the 1990s' NEO/urban-centered strategy).

Tim Russo:

The careers of Lee Fisher and Tim Ryan have been on a collision course since 2006.  One of them is going to be in line in front of the other until at least 2014.  Fisher joined the ticket in 2006 for the sole purpose of running for governor or senate.  Time's come to decide.  

Thus, I think Lee Fisher is probably this minute putting the finishing touches on his victory spee....er...I mean...announcement speech.  Problem for Lee is that, well, he's Lee.  Boring to distraction, transparently careerist, has done little as Lt. Gov. to distinguish himself from Some Guy At The Bar, and utterly without any real rationale for running other than to run.  This will not energize Democrats.  

Plus, it's an off year, Lee is Lee, and Portman will prove somewhat non-insane.  Ohio isn't as blue as Lee thinks, especially in an off year.  So if Lee gets through a primary to the general, he will lose, you heard it here first.

But that won't stop Lee!  Oh, no, my friend.  If he loses to Portman, he will still be Lt. Gov. and still be in line to run for governor in 2014, having proven that no amount of statewide electoral failures can kill him.  Like a cockroach!  Only in Lee Fisher's world is repeated losing a no-lose situation.

This means there isn't any incentive for Tim Ryan to avoid Lee in a primary.  Lee will be standing there either this year for Senate, or in 2014 for governor.  If Tim wants it, he needs to go and get it.  Which he can do.  Tim Ryan is a force of nature, just waiting to point itself at the right target.  The question is, does he want it?  It's awful comfy in the majority lately, in a safe seat, and who knows, Lee could surprise us all and win in 2010, thus leaving the road to governor more open for Tim in 2014.  I thought on Friday Tim would run, but I'm not so sure today.  Running and losing is Lee's style, not Tim Ryan's.

by Bob Brigham 2009-01-12 07:54AM | 0 recs
Paul Hackett

what's he up to?

Obama appoint him to anything?

by Carl Nyberg 2009-01-12 07:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Paul Hackett

He partnered with BlogPAC to use his list to raise money for Jim Martin last Veterans Day, haven't talked with him since.

I'd like to see him take another look at Jean Schmidt. Vic Wulsin didn't run the most stellar campaign but kept Mean Jean under 50%. If Hackett runs, it will give him a great excuse to be out on the stump with his buddy Ryan in southern Ohio which would be great for both of them.

by Bob Brigham 2009-01-12 08:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Paul Hackett- SW Ohio

I live in OH-02- Schmidt's and Hackett's district.
I don't see him running for elected office in the near and perhaps long-term future.

Perception is that he doesn't like the raising money part of politics - the personal phoning necessary.  He's also quite a loose cannon, personally as well as politically,  and although he made a splash as a just-home Iraq veteran- among the first to wear that label- I don't believe that will have the cachet it did when he first ran (2005?) in a special election.  People are getting past the Iraq conflict and want answers to domestic problems, and I don't know that he has them.

Unfortunately, Wulsin was not too impressive either, and I don't expect her to run again.  The Dem. bench is pretty slim in this district.

My hope is that Dems. will prevail in redistricting Ohio, and that since Ohio will likely lose a Representative, that the Hamilton Co. section of OH-02 and possibly even Clermont County (Schmidt's home) will be merged with OH-01, where Steve Driehaus (D) is the new Congressman.

by susie 2009-01-12 09:40PM | 0 recs
Re: OH-Sen: Two-Time Bush Appointee Jumps In

     Sherrod Brown's 56, Fisher is 57, and Ryan is 35. This could be the last open seat race in Ohio for more than 20 years. Ryan should get in quickly with both feet, and defy Fisher to oppose him. It sounds like Fisher is not a risk-taker, and would likely wait to run for governor in 2014.

by Ron Thompson 2009-01-12 08:55AM | 0 recs
Re: OH-Sen: Two-Time Bush Appointee Jumps In

And I suspect if Ryan runs he'll run like he has nothing to lose (which might be true as I can imagine him enjoying teaching high school civics and coaching as much as being in DC).

by Bob Brigham 2009-01-12 09:14AM | 0 recs

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