Ohio Senator Rob Portman, a Republican deeply connected with the former party, announced Monday that he would not stand for re-election in 2022, expressing frustration at the deep polarization and partisanship in Washington.
“It has become increasingly difficult to break the partisan deadlock and make progress on substantive politics, and this has contributed to my decision,” Portman said in a statement revealing what was considered a surprise announcement so soon after the last election.
Mr. Portman, former senior trade and budget official in the George W. Bush administration, was once considered a conservative mainstay, but as his party has shifted to the right in recent years, it has become one of the few centrist Republican senators interested in making bipartisan deals. He was one of the lawmakers tasked with pushing through the new North American trade deal in 2019 and was part of a bipartisan coalition that pushed House and Senate leaders late last year to pass a emergency measure in the event of a pandemic after months of delay.
His decision to step down illustrates how difficult it has become for more mainstream Republicans to navigate the current political environment, with hard-right allies of former President Donald J. Trump insisting that Republican members Congress either on their side or face primary competitions.
Mr. Portman called it “a difficult time to be in public service.”
“We live in an increasingly polarized country where members of both parties are pushed further to the right and further to the left, and that means that too few people are actively seeking to find common ground,” he said. he declares.
Mr. Portman, who also served for 12 years in the House, is said to have sought his third term in the Senate. He said he has made his decision public now to give others time to prepare for a statewide race.