Rob Portman, the Republican Senator from Ohio, has announced that he will not seek re-election next year, eliminating one of the party’s moderates as he tries to do so. rebuild following the presidential defeat of Donald Trump.
Mr Portman, a former U.S. trade representative and budget manager under former President George W Bush, joins Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Richard Burr of North Carolina, other senators from his party who are stepping down at the end of their terms .
In a Monday statement, Mr Portman said it was “a difficult time to be in public service,” criticizing the dysfunction in Congress in language that has become common among retired senators in recent years.
“Honestly, it has become more and more difficult to break the partisan deadlock and make progress on substantive politics, and that has contributed to my decision,” Mr. Portman said.
“We live in an increasingly polarized country where members of both parties are pushed further to the right and further to the left, which means that too few people actively seek to find common ground.”
Although Mr. Portman is from the Republican establishment, he did not go as far as some other GOP senators in criticizing Mr. Trump’s government approach or efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. He has aligned himself closely with the former president on politics, especially tax cuts and deregulation, over the past four years.
The announcement of his retirement will spark a big battle among Republicans to win their party’s primary for the seat next year – which could prove to be a litmus test for Mr. Trump’s strength. allies within the party in relation to its reviews.
Among the possible suitors is Jim Jordan, the Republican member of the House of Representatives, who has become one of Mr. Trump’s staunchest supporters on Capitol Hill. Mr. Jordan voted to reject the Electoral College results on the day of the deadly attack on Congress and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Mr. Trump.
Mr. Portman, 65, is relatively popular in Ohio, surpassing Mr. Trump the last time he ran for office in 2016. His exit will make it easier for Democrats to attempt to take his seat in the election midterm next year, when senior management control The chamber could depend on the outcome of just a few races, given the current 50-50 split.
However, Ohio has gradually leaned to the right and was comfortably conquered by Mr. Trump last November, so it will remain a tough climb for Democrats.
A native of Cincinnati, Mr. Portman has a long history in Congress since his tenure in the House of Representatives from 1993 to 2005, when he was hired by Mr. Bush to be the US Trade Representative and later White House Budget Director. .
Prior to Congress, Mr. Portman was director of legislative affairs for the White House during the presidency of George HW Bush.