Washington – Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio will not seek a third term in the Senate, he announced Monday, setting up a fight over his open seat in the 2022 election.
In a statement released by his Senate office, Portman said he plans to finish the remaining two years of his term. While he praised the work his office has done during his 10-year tenure in the Senate, the Ohio Republican lamented the partisan gridlock that has gripped Washington in recent years.
"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," he said. "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."
Portman said he decided to announce his decision to retire now to allow ample time for a Republican candidate "to gear up for a statewide race."
First elected to the House in a special election in 1993, he represented Ohio's 2nd Congressional District for 12 years, then left Congress in 2005 to serve as the U.S. trade representative for then-President George W. Bush and then as director of the Office of Management and Budget. Portman was elected to the Senate in 2010.
He cruised to reelection in 2016, defeating Democrat Ted Strickland by nearly 21 points.
Portman's announcement comes as the Senate prepares to receive the single article of impeachment against former President Donald Trump later Monday. The trial against Mr. Trump is expected to begin next month.
He is the third Republican senator up for reelection in 2022 to announce retirement, joining Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey and North Carolina Senator Richard Burr.