The Campaign Spot

Not Every Good Republican – Like Rob Portman – Needs to Run for President

There’s a lot to like about Sen. Rob Portman, but how many people ever looked at the smart, experienced, soft-spoken Ohio Republican and said, “yes, that’s exactly the guy the GOP needs to nominate for president?”

Okay, the senator and a few folks in media sure fell in love with that idea…

Jen Rubin, August 28: “Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) is reportedly considering a run for the presidency. He has not been on the radar screen for 2016, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a viable candidate. To the contrary, he might be the most qualified nominee since George H.W. Bush.”

The Columbus Dispatch: “Sen. Rob Portman is being urged to form a presidential exploratory committee as the first step in running for the White House in 2016, but the Ohio Republican will not make a decision until after the November elections.”

Stephanie Slade, U.S. News and World Report: “Should Portman enter the race, however, he strikes me as genuinely formidable candidate.”

Politico: “Rob Portman is continuing to weigh a presidential run even as he leans toward running for reelection, he said in an interview on Friday afternoon. The Ohio Republican senator doesn’t have a precise timeline for his decision, but with his party’s triumph on Tuesday behind him he said he’s finally got some time to think about whether to seek the presidency or commit 100 percent to running for reelection in the swing state of Ohio in 2016.”

But the equation was always the same: A wonky, amiable guy from a swing state taking on some very big names with bigger fundraising bases, bigger profiles on the national scene, more vibrant personalities and much clearer bases of support: Either Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, probably Rand Paul, possibly Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry… 

This morning:

Sen. Rob Portman will not run for president in 2016, saying that he will seek another term as a U.S. senator from Ohio instead.

Announcing his decision to a small group of Ohio reporters in his Capitol Hill office yesterday, Portman said he decided to remain in the Senate because he feels energized by the new GOP Senate majority, saying, “There is a good chance for us to do something” on a broad array of issues, such as overhauling the tax code and expanding international trade.

No shame in that. And it’s a good reminder to the political media that not everybody who gets mentioned as a potential presidential candidate will choose that path.

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