Ohio Sen. Rob Portman not running for reelection in 2022

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Two-term Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio announced Monday that he won’t seek a third six-year term when he is up for re-election in 2022.

Portman touted his legislative achievements in a statement announcing the news, but the senator also pointed to congressional gridlock as a reason he won’t campaign for another term in the Senate. He currently serves on the Senate Finance, Homeland Security and Foreign Relations Committees.


“I don’t think any Senate office has been more successful in getting things done, but honestly, 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,” Portman wrote.

In this image from video, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, speaks as the Senate reconvenes to debate the objection to confirm the Electoral College Vote from Arizona, after protesters stormed into the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (Senate Television via AP)

Portman served a decade and a half in the House before serving as U.S. Trade Representative and director of the Office of Management and Budget in President George W. Bush’s administration. He was first elected to the Senate in 2010 and easily reelected in 2016.

Pointing to his three decades in public service, the senator noted that “this was not an easy decision because representing the people of Ohio has been an honor. But I’ve been doing this a long time, longer than I ever intended.”

Portman’s decision to retire rather than run for reelection will likely make the GOP’s hopes of recapturing the chamber in the 2022 elections more challenging.

The Senate is split 50-50 between the two parties, but the Democrats hold a razor thin majority, due to the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris. That means Republicans only have to flip one seat in 2022 to regain the majority they lost in the 2020 elections.

But the GOP is defending 20 of the 34 seats up for grabs in the next midterm elections.


The difficult map isn’t the only obstacle facing the Republicans. They’re also defending open seats in two crucial battleground states due to retirements. Sens. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Richard Burr of North Carolina are not running for reelection. With Portman’s announcement, add battleground Ohio to the list of states with a GOP controlled open Senate seat.

There’s also a potential headache in Iowa, where 87-year-old GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley is staying mum so far on whether he’ll run for an eighth six-year term in the Senate. And in the battleground state of Wisconsin, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson hasn’t said if he’ll run for a third term.

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