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Rob Portman Rules Out Presidential Run

Rob Portman Rules Out Presidential Run

By Scott Conroy - December 2, 2014

Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman announced Tuesday morning that he has decided against a 2016 White House run and will instead seek a second term in the Senate. 

“It’s a great honor to represent the people of Ohio in the U.S. Senate, and I have decided to run for re-election in 2016,” Portman said in a statement. “I am excited about continuing to serve, especially with the change in the Senate leadership.” 

Portman had been mulling a presidential campaign in recent months, in which he likely would have presented himself as a middle-of-the-road Republican with broad appeal within the party and outside of it.  

“I really do think our country’s in trouble, and I’m going to be looking to see who’s addressing those issues, and who can bring the country together to solve those problems,” he told RealClearPolitics during a visit to New Hampshire in August.  

If he had run, Portman would have been the first major Republican presidential candidate who supports gay marriage, but he also would have had an uphill battle trying to win the GOP nomination.  

During the 2012 presidential race, Portman made the short list of potential running mates for Mitt Romney, who ultimately selected Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan instead. 

Portman’s decision to run for re-election figures to make his seat a more difficult pickup opportunity for Democrats as they aim to retake the upper chamber in 2016.  

In his statement, Portman said that he will announce his re-election intentions formally next year. 

“I know it will not be easy to break the gridlock and make Washington work, but I'm excited to roll up my sleeves to make a difference for the people of Ohio and the country,” he said.

Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at sconroy@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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