Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) has taken himself out of the running for the 2016 presidential election, saying he wants to focus on the Senate and his re-election campaign in 2016. Portman said, “With the new Republican majority, I see a real opportunity over the next two years to break the gridlock in Washington and actually get things done to help Ohioans and all Americans. That’s where I believe I can play the most constructive role.” Portman said he will formally announce his re-election campaign next year. The 2014 election also had a role, as Sen. Portman said that his decision may have been different if Democrats held the Senate. However, Republicans will be in charge of the Senate, so Portman believes more of his attention is needed there. Portman made the announcement to Ohio reporters in his Capital Hill office yesterday and Politico’s Playbook says a full statement will be released later today. We will update this post when the statement is sent out. Portman also added, “If you run for president, it’s just not practical to be involved in policy issues here. You can’t do both. At least for me, I couldn’t do both.” Portman also ruled out being a vice presidential candidate, “It’s obviously not something that you run for. But I’m not interested. I’m interested in staying in the Senate.” This came after Politico ran an article talking about Portman’s credentials as a potential vice-presidential candidate. Portman said that Jeb Bush (R-FL) and Governor John Kasich (R-OH) are two potential candidates he would support. Kasich has said that he is not running, but some feel he may after a praised showing at the a gathering of Republican governors and his landslide victory on Election Day. Ohio is a key state as no Republican has won the election without the state.
Portman’s decision could make it harder for Democrats to capture the seat in 2016. However, there are reports that conservatives are trying to organize a primary challenger to Portman due to his support of same-sex marriage. One of Portman’s sons is gay. Portman is one of the few Republican Senators who supports same-sex marriage which has caused anti-same-sex marriage groups to oppose him.