State Rep. To Challenge Portman After Gun Bill Vote
The vote in the U.S. Senate on background checks for gun purchases so infuriated one Ohio state representative that heâs announced his candidacy for the Senate â three years before the vote. Democratic Rep. Bob Hagan of Youngstown says he has disagreed with Republican US Senator Rob Portman on changes to collective bargaining laws, on environmental issues, and on same sex marriage before Portmanâs headline-making change of heart. But it was Portmanâs vote against the measure to require tighter background checks on gun buyers that made Hagan decide to challenge Portman in the 2016 election.
Iâm going to be the hair shirt of his campaign. Iâm going to follow wherever he is and make him itch and answer the questions. Why did he ignore the public â like, by the way, most of those Senators have been doing in the US Senate for way too long. Theyâve been beholden to too many lobbyists, and Iâm going to take them on because of that.
Hagan says this isnât a stunt â heâs been considering other offices, including Congressman Tim Ryanâs seat if Ryan had decided to run for the Democratic nomination for governor next year. In many ways, Hagan seems an unlikely choice as a US Senate candidate. He has a long history in the Statehouse, but has never run statewide. He is unabashedly liberal, enjoying strong support from unions and Democratic groups. And because heâs been in a safe district for many years, he hasnât had to raise much money. But Ohio Democratic Party Chair Chris Redfern, Haganâs colleague in the Ohio House, stands behind him. âBob Hagan can win anywhere. If you take the truth to the people of this state, youâre going to win. Sherrod Brown proved it. You know, Barack Obama proved it.â? In his weekly conference call with reporters, Rob Portman said he voted against the background checks bill because he didnât feel it would stop future gun violence but might infringe on gun ownersâ rights. He was also asked about Haganâs possible campaign against him based on this vote.
For me this isnât about politics yet. This is about principle and I take that very seriously as do a lot of my constituents. So instead of making this partisan, Iâll be continuing to try to find solutions to gun violence and to this culture of violence.
Portman says he received what he called a lot more letters from Ohioans against the background checks bill than for it. But a Quinnipiac poll last month showed 90 percent of Ohio voters â including 86 percent of households where there is a gun - favored background checks for all gun purchases.