Sen. Rob Portman, who announced earlier this year that he will not seek reelection in 2022 because of the partisan gridlock in Washington, D.C., said Wednesday he is “confident” that his state of Ohio will elect another Republican to take his place and that his party will get the Senate majority back.
“Our state has gotten more and more red,” the GOP senator said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “In fact, President (Donald) Trump just won it by 8 points for the second time. I won by 21 points the last time.”
In his statement in January, when he announced he wasn’t running again, Portman said that “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.”
“I think we’ll have a lot of really good Republican candidates in the primary,” Portman told CNBC. “Already, seven or eight of them said they’re interested. All of them will be able to win a primary, a general election.”
He added that he’s also not worried about Missouri after GOP Sen. Roy Blunt announced Tuesday that he will not run again.
“I think we can hold our numbers or expand our numbers and bet the majority back,” said Portman. “Typically, in that midterm, after a presidential election, the party and power in the White House lose a bunch of seats in the Senate. I suspect, given the makeup of the senate races in 2022, we’re likely to pick up a few seats. I think we’ll get the majority back.”
He points out that “not a single Republican” was consulted, let alone asked in a serious way to contribute to the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, which the House passed in a final vote Wednesday afternoon.
“I think America would want it to work in a bipartisan way,” said Portman. “This COVID bill is a good example of that. We were ready as Republicans to fund every single part that dealt with the COVID health care crisis. Our proposal had the exact same amount of funding for development distribution of the vaccine, for testing, therapies and so on.”
He added that most of the money in the bill, which President Joe Biden is expected to sign on Friday, won’t be spent until next year.
“This stimulus package and the way this happened, makes me even more determined to, you know, to try to shift the partisanship in this town,” said Portman. “It is unbelievable what is happening today and in the Senate, it’s a partisan effort to jam through the legislation that could have been much better had it been bipartisan. That’s one of my concerns about this place you know, people just going into their corners and they’re not working together and the result is bad policy.”
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