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CINCINNATI — Ohio GOP Sen. Rob Portman said Thursday he has definite plans to run in 2016 — at least for re-election. Whether he decides to aim higher, he said, will depend on the field of presidential candidates and the issues they campaign on.
Questions about Portman’s plans cropped up anew this week after the announcement that the Republican National Convention is likely headed to his home state, specifically Cleveland. He was asked about them Thursday in a conference call he regularly has with Ohio reporters.
“I have a really strong view (that) America is in trouble, and I think we’re at a pivotal point in our country’s history, and we’ve got to make some changes,” he said. “A lot of it is economic.”
Portman, a 58-year-old Cincinnati area native, doesn’t show up among the leaders in national polls on potential GOP presidential candidates, but his resume is long on experience. The former congressman, U.S. trade representative and White House budget chief was among those considered as 2012 nominee Mitt Romney’s running mate before Romney picked Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
The congressman, who plans to seek his second Senate term, has promoted efforts this year on job training, fighting poverty and also wants steps to improve U.S. competitiveness and spur growth.
“If I don’t see other candidates providing that who I believe could win a general election, I will take a look at it,” Portman said of the presidential race. “But right now, I’m planning just to run for Senate in Ohio.”
In a presidential race, Portman likely would face opposition from some conservatives, including in Ohio, for his decision last year to support gay marriage. And there’s speculation that another Ohio Republican, Gov. John Kasich, could run for president if he wins re-election this fall.