WASHINGTON D.C., DC — Months after Ohio's Rob Portman announced he will not seek reelection to the United States Senate once his term is up in 2022, several prominent figures in Ohio politics have already put themselves in or taken themselves out of the race to succeed him.
Democrats and Republicans are both vying for the seat, with several early names discussed including U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, former Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton, and even former Ohio State University football coach Jim Tressel. However, all three have since declined to run, making the landscape a bit murkier.
In the meantime, three major candidates have officially announced their intentions to run, while other big names could announce soon. Here's how things currently look:
The Cleveland area businessman officially entered the race for the Republican nomination on April 6, with his campaign saying he "is running to stop the socialist agenda, protect the gains made by President Donald J. Trump and protect the American dream." The Colombia native later spoke to 3News' Mark Naymik:
Former Ohio GOP Chairwoman Jane Timken
Timken, a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump, announced her bid on Feb. 18.
"As Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, I was a conservative disruptor. With the support of President Trump, I built a part that delivered conservative, America First victories at every level," Timken wrote on Twitter. "Now I'm taking that same work ethic and attitude to Washington."
Former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel
The Cleveland native officially launched his campaign on Feb. 10, saying he was inspired by the "sham impeachment" of former President Donald Trump.
Mandel was considered the GOP frontrunner for the Senate in 2018, but dropped out before the primary due to his then-wife's health issues. He served two terms as treasurer and previously ran against Sen. Sherrod Brown in 2012, losing that race by six points.
Other Republican candidates: IT executive Mark Pukita, Ret. U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Michael Leipold
Dr. Amy Acton
Long a rumored favorite within the Ohio Democratic Party, Acton first rose to prominence in the spring of 2020 as director of the Ohio Department of Health during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Acton confirmed on April 6 she will not run for Senate.
"While I am not entering the race for U.S. Senate, I recognize there is a genuine longing for a fresh approach to leadership that is honest, collaborative, and empowering," Acton wrote. "Ohioans - do not accept anything less from your elected officials. Our leaders’ words and actions matter. We must set the bar higher."
The longtime media personality and Shaker Heights resident tweeted he was "pondering" entering the race for the Republican nomination, but just one day later confirmed he has "decided not to seek public office."
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley
Whaley has previously been known to consider runs for Congress and briefly ran for governor in 2018. She announced that she will not run for reelection as mayor, but tells The New York Times she will not seek Portman's seat and is instead considering another run for the governor's mansion.
Rep. Joyce Beatty
Beatty, congresswoman for Ohio's third district, confirmed she will not run for the seat that will be left vacant by Sen. Rob Portman.
"I promise to be actively engaged and will campaign to make sure our next Senator shares my commitment to fight for Ohio families, small businesses, women and communities of color—and equally as passionate about eradicating inequities in healthcare, our economy, and social justice system," she said in a statement.
Beatty further wrote that she was grateful for all of the support, but feels as though she can do the most good in her current position in Congress.
The former Ohio State head football coach and Mentor native told Buzzfeed News' Henry J. Gomez he does not intend to leave his current job as Youngstown State University's president.
"Too busy here at YSU to run for the Senate," Tressel said. "It is time for the young guys to step up."
Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted
Ohio's Republican lieutenant governor released a statement via Twitter detailing his reasons for not deciding to run for the Senate seat, citing future intentions to run for Governor of Ohio.
"Being Lt. Governor provides me the fulfilling opportunity and I intend to keep doing this job, run for re-election, and one day in the future, I intend to run for Governor," Husted wrote.
Rep. Jim Jordan
Jordan, a staunch supporter of Trump, was rumored to be the favorite to replace Portman until it was reported that he does not intend to leave his current position.
"Mr. Jordan believes at this time he is better suited to represent Ohioans in the House of Representatives, where as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, he can advance an America first agenda, promote conservative values, and hold big government accountable," a spokesperson for the congressman said in a statement obtained by the Associated Press.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost
The Republican tweeted that he will not run for the seat and will instead seek a second term as AG.
Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley
Cranley has previously discussed a potential run against DeWine in 2022, but a possible open Senate seat could have changed his course of action. However, 3News sister station WLWT in Cincinnati reports the mayor will not run to replace Portman, and is instead "focused on running for Ohio Governor."
Former Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman
Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich
A former U.S. Rep. from 1983-2001 and later a popular two-term governor, Kasich drew the ire of the GOP with his disavowal of Trump and his endorsement of Joe Biden during the 2020 presidential election. In a statement to The Cincinnati Enquirer, spokesperson Jim Lynch dismissed rumors of Kasich possibly running for Portman's seat as "nothing more than clickbait."
Rep. Tim Ryan
Ryan could be a frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, and has already been endorsed by prominent figures such as former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He currently represents Ohio's 13th congressional district and has been noted as one of the strongest liberal voices in the Buckeye State since his House tenure began in 2003.
The New York Times reports Ryan will announce a Senate bid soon.
Former Rep. Jim Renacci
The Wadsworth resident and current Chairman of the Medina County GOP served in Congress for eight years before leaving to run for the U.S. Senate, losing to the incumbent Brown by six points. He has also been rumored as a possible candidate to run against DeWine in the Republican gubernatorial primary.
Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes
A native of Akron, the 35-year-old Sykes told the New York Times she is considering a Senate run after receiving overtures from "a handful of progressive advocacy groups." Due to term limits, she will not be eligible to run for re-election to her State House seat in 2022.
Both of Sykes' parents have served in the Ohio General Assembly, and her father Vernon is currently a member of the State Senate. The family has held her current House seat since 1983.
Rep. Bill Johnson
Like Jordan, Johnson is a staunch Trump loyalist and is currently in his sixth term representing Southeast Ohio's sixth district. The 66-year-old Republican confirmed Monday he is "seriously considering" running for the Senate.
A Middletown native and Iraq War veteran, Vance rose to prominence as a venture capitalist and author the bestselling memoir "Hillbilly Elegy," which was later adapted into a feature film staring Amy Adams and Glenn Close. He declined to run against Brown in 2018, but now tells the conservative Daily Wire he is "seriously considering" a campaign in 2022.
The New York Times reports tech billionaire Peter Thiel, a longtime GOP donor and supporter of Trump, has donated $10 million to a super PAC endorsing a possible Vance run.