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Published: Sunday, 2/23/2014 - Updated: 7 months ago

LOCAL GOP FUND-RAISER

Portman slated to headline annual Lincoln Day event

U.S. senator respected by all factions in party, Lucas County chairman says

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER
Portman Portman
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U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) will headline the Lucas County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner this year.

The party banquet, which will raise money for party operations and rent on its downtown headquarters, is set for March 14 at The Premier, 4480 Heatherdowns Blvd.

County Republican Chairman Jon Stainbrook said Mr. Portman’s acceptance of the keynote spot continues Mr. Stainbrook’s tradition of having high-profile speakers.

The event begins with a private chairman’s reception, social hour, and silent auction at 6 p.m., followed by the dinner and program at 7 p.m. Tickets are $75 for an individual and $750 for a table of eight. Last year’s dinner featuring Gov. John Kasich drew about 500 people.

“Rob Portman is loved by everybody. He’s the perfect speaker,” Mr. Stainbrook said.

Mr. Portman, 58, of the Cincinnati area was elected to the Senate in 2010, defeating Democrat Lee Fisher. He had been a member of Congress from 1993 to 2005, after which he served as U.S. trade representative from 2005 to 2006 and director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush from 2006 to 2007.

“I’m looking forward to being back in Lucas County to talk about what Washington should be doing to spur job creation and get our economy back on track,” Mr. Portman said in a prepared statement.

As a U.S. senator, he has taken a leading role in Republican efforts to force down federal spending to reduce the deficit. Among issues specific to Ohio, he has put public pressure on the Army Corps of Engineers to finish studies on how to mitigate flooding of the Blanchard River and to improve barriers to Asian carp entering the Great Lakes.

He recently voted against a three-month extension of unemployment benefits when Democrats rebuffed his proposal to pay for it by closing loopholes that allow some people to claim duplicate benefits. 

“I am disappointed that the Senate Democrats did not take this opportunity to break through the gridlock and work with us to help the long-term unemployed,” Mr. Portman said after the vote. Progressives said Mr. Portman will pay a political price for blocking benefits for jobless Ohioans.

Mr. Portman’s changed position in favor of same-sex marriage last year was cited by some Tea Party Republicans as an example of the party’s liberal drift. Mr. Stainbrook said he doesn’t believe that issue will be a factor in turnout at the event this year.

He said Mr. Portman recently attended a pro-life fund-raiser in Toledo headlined by conservative strategist and commentator Karl Rove.

“Rob Portman is one of those people that is supported by far right-wing conservatives, moderates, and independents,” he said.

Previous Lincoln Day Dinner speakers have included Mr. Kasich in 2013 and 2009, when he was a candidate for governor; Mr. Rove in 2010; Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor in 2011, and Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain in 2012.

Contact Tom Troy at:

tomtroy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6058.



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