COLUMBUS — The year 2021 kicked off with a surprise announcement that promises to make 2022’s Ohio political scene a lot more interesting.
Sen. Rob Portman sent shockwaves through state political circles after he announced on Jan. 25 that he won’t seek re-election in 2022. Portman, a traditional Chamber of Commerce-style Republican who had been in office since 2011, cited partisan gridlock as a major contributing factor to his decision.
The development — a rare, open U.S. Senate seat — kicked off a mad scramble among state Republicans to get in the race.
Jane Timken quit her job as Ohio Republican Party chairman to get in the race. And former state treasurer Josh Mandel, who previously ran for U.S. Senate in 2012 and 2018, returned from his political exile — including re-activating his deleted social media accounts — to re-invent himself as President Donald Trump’s…