Intrigue has already swirled around who will succeed Sen. Rob Portman only a little more than a week after the Republican from Terrace Park announced he would not seek re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2022.
Here’s the latest:
Tim Ryan getting high-level support
Hillary Clinton already has a favorite candidate to succeed Portman. It’s Rep. Tim Ryan. The Youngstown Democrat said he’s getting encouragement from Democrats across the country.
Democratic National Committee Member Kathy DiCristofaro, from Trumbull County, tweeted on Jan. 29 she’s “all in” on a Ryan Senate run. Clinton responded the next day via Twitter “You’re right, Kathy!”
Ryan, 47, has contacted a cadre of prominent Democrats on a possible run for Portman’s seat and is expected to declare his candidacy as early as March, the New York Times first reported on Monday.
Ryan said in a statement this week he hasn’t decided but is testing the waters on a Senate run.
“I’ve been hearing from Democrats across Ohio and the country who are excited at the possibility of picking up a Senate seat that we haven’t held in decades,” Ryan said in a statement. “I have been encouraged by their support, enthusiasm, and commitment. The U.S. Senate needs another working class voice and I’m very serious about the opportunity to continue representing the people of Ohio.”
Ryan launched a longshot 2020 bid for president but dropped out by Oct. 2019.
Bill Johnson runs ad attacking Kasich
The first ad for the Senate race has already dropped even though no one has officially announced. Rep. Bill Johnson, 66, a Republican from Marietta, released a radio ad on Tuesday saying people are asking him to run for Senate. In the ad, he said he’s “talking to conservatives and small business owners, single parents and families hurt by government overreach” about whether to run for Senate.
Johnson then attacked former Gov. John Kasich, who said he’s not running for the seat. But some of Kasich’s donors and associates are trying to recruit potential candidates, CNBC reported on Jan. 29.
Johnson accused Kasich of “chatting up Wall Street elites” and elites from the tech industry.
“Last time I heard from John Kasich, he was speaking to another group of elitists, the Democratic National Convention,” Johnson said.
Jim Lynch, a spokesman for Kasich, called the ad “clickbait” in a response via email to The Enquirer.
“That’s nothing more than clickbait and doesn’t have a morsel of truth to it,” Lynch wrote.
Dave Yost a no go
When Portman announced his retirement, every Republican statewide officer holder was seen as a potential candidate. On Monday, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost took himself out of the equation, saying he was not going to run.
Yost was the latest in a list of people who have said they aren’t running for Senate. Also not running: Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, Rep. Troy Balderson, R-Zanesville, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, former Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Columbus, former Gov. John Kasich and former Ohio State football coach, current Youngstown State president Jim Tressel and former Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman.
Who’s still in?
No one has made any announcements they’re running. But multiple Republicans and Democrats are considering it. Republicans who said they’re mulling a run for Senate: Ohio Republican Party chairwoman Jane Timken, , U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Columbus, U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Columbia Tusculum, Ohio State Sen. Matt Dolan, R-Cleveland, former treasurer Josh Mandel, Cleveland businessman Mike Gibbons, and former Rep. Jim Renacci. Cleveland-area car dealer Bernie Moreno is also considering a run as a Republican, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Democrats considering a run include: Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Youngstown, Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Columbus, former Ohio Department of Health director Amy Acton, Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Connor and State Rep. Emilia Sykes, D-Akron.