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Portman Considering NRSC Chairmanship

Portman Considering NRSC Chairmanship

By Erin McPike - November 7, 2012


Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran is the only announced candidate for chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee next year, but Ohio's Rob Portman may be interested in that key role too.

After a series of tough election cycles for the GOP, running the committee has become a thankless job that apparently few senators want to take on. Witness current NRSC Chair John Cornyn’s blunt statement early Wednesday morning: “It’s clear that with our losses in the Presidential race, and a number of key Senate races, we have a period of reflection and recalibration ahead for the Republican Party. While some will want to blame one wing of the party over the other, the reality is candidates from all corners of our GOP lost tonight. Clearly we have work to do in the weeks and months ahead.”

When it became clear that Florida’s Marco Rubio was disinclined to run for the job, leading Republicans started courting Ohio Sen. Rob Portman to take the role moving toward the 2014 midterms.

Portman is well liked by his colleagues and by party leadership in the upper chamber. And he was held in very high esteem by the Romney camp, not only for his work prepping Mitt Romney for his debates against President Obama but for chairing the nominee’s campaign in Ohio.

In Tuesday’s election, when a majority of swing states broke for the incumbent, Romney held Obama to a slimmer victory margin in the Buckeye State than in many of the others. The president won by just 1.9 percentage points; many polls had shown Obama with a larger lead heading into Election Day, and Portman could receive some credit for Romney’s better-than-expected results.

What’s more, Portman’s 2010 Senate race was also cheered for being among the best-run campaigns of that midterm cycle. For that and his fundraising prowess, some GOP leaders believe he might be best equipped to run the committee.

Sources close to Portman say he has been entertaining calls that he run for the past few weeks and that he’s flattered, but he hasn’t made a decision.

With news Wednesday that Rubio has ruled out the role, however, those calls may well increase. 

Erin McPike is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at emcpike@realclearpolitics.com. Follow her on Twitter @ErinMcPike.

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