As Republicans focus on winning back both the House of Representatives and the Senate in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections, they could face a number of new obstacles.
One of those obstacles is the announcement from Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) on Monday that he will not be running for reelection in 2022, which according to Fox News, marks the third Republican senator in a competitive state who have made similar announcements.
Portman, who serves on the Senate Finance, Homeland Security and Foreign Relations Committees, has already clocked two, six-year terms, but said in a statement announcing the shocking news that he won’t seek reelection due to the current state of congressional partisan gridlock.
“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,” his statement read.
The Ohio senator has a long history of working in the U.S. government, having served some 15 years in the House before eventually serving as U.S. Trade Representative and Director of the Office of Management and Budget for former President George W. Bush.
Portman’s decision throws quite the wrench into the gears of the GOP as they prepare to mount a battle to reclaim majority control in what is now a 50-50 split in the Senate, with Democrats ultimately having majority control thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote.
According to The Hill, Portman is squarely within the “moderate” side of Senate Republicans, sharing a close relationship with establishment GOP-types like Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.
It has already been suggested that because of his establishment ties and the fallout with President Donald Trump in his last weeks in office, Portman’s departure from the upper chamber could be yet another signal of traditional Republicans distancing themselves from the Trump-loyalists of the party.