OHIO, USA — On Monday morning, Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) announced that he will not seek reelection to the United States Senate in 2022, citing "gridlock" in Congress, and a divisive political-environment.
“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," Sen. Portman wrote in a statement. “We live in an increasingly polarized country where members of both parties are being pushed further to the right and further to the left, and that means too few people who are actively looking to find common ground. This is not a new phenomenon, of course, but a problem that has gotten worse over the past few decades."
Following Senator Portman's announcement, Ohio politicians released their own statements thanking the representative for his years of work in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.
“Senator Portman has worked tirelessly on behalf of Ohioans during his two terms in the United States Senate. Senator Portman has been a key partner on helping Ohio with federal COVID-19 relief and other pandemic-related issues," Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said on Monday. "Senator Portman and I have had similar policy priorities to help Ohio families, from tackling the Opioid crisis and the scourge of human trafficking to protecting Lake Erie and Ohio’s other natural wonders. Fran and I wish Rob and Jane and their family the best in their future endeavors.”
Portman's colleague in the Senate, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), also released a statement wishing Portman well, and acknowledging the work they have been able to do for Ohioans.
“Rob and I have worked together on issues that matter to Ohioans, from protecting the health of Lake Erie, to better enforcing our trade laws, to helping Ohioans who are struggling with addiction. We’ve not always agreed with one another, but we’ve always been able to put our differences aside to do what’s best for our state. Connie and I thank Rob for his career of public service and wish him and Jane well.”
On Monday afternoon, Rep. Marcy Kaptur offered up her thoughts on Portman's planned departure, releasing a statement calling the decision a "great loss" for the State of Ohio.
Senator Portman has served our state and nation honorably in the Senate since 2011,” said Rep. Kaptur. “He has worked on a bicameral basis and across party lines when necessary to find solutions on behalf of our constituents. I have appreciated his deep interest in countering the real threats to liberty globally and his vigilant partnership in maintaining territorial sovereignty among the nations on the European continent. We share a deep commitment to strengthening the transatlantic alliance.”
“Senator Portman is a partner in enhancing Ohio’s environmental beauty, including the health and vitality of our Great Lakes. In that regard alone, his departure from the Senate will be a deep loss to Ohio. I wish him and his family well in the years ahead and continued fulfillment in all their pursuits," said Kaptur.
While most Ohio politicians offered well-wishes to Portman in his retirement from the Senate, the Ohio Democratic Party did not mince words when it came to the Senator's announcement.
“Over the past four years, Rob Portman has been one of Donald Trump’s biggest defenders, so his attempt today to rewrite that history is ridiculous. This is the guy who, when asked about Trump’s decision to attack peaceful protesters with tear gas, said he was ‘late for lunch.’ This is the guy who backed Mitch McConnell’s theft of a Supreme Court seat from President Barack Obama," the party said in a statement. "If Portman wants to complain about the death of civility and the triumph of partisan gridlock, he should take a long, hard look in the mirror and think about what he wants to be his legacy."
The group ultimately blamed the Republican Senator for contributing to the gridlock that he cites in his decision to not run for reelection and wrote, "in 2022 Ohioans want to send someone to the U.S. Senate who fights for them, not for special interests. This was always going to be a competitive race, and now it's even more competitive.”