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Ohio Democrats Begin Push To Defeat Rob Portman In 2022

Dayton, Ohio, Mayor Nan Whaley speaks to members of the media Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, outside Ned Peppers bar in the Oregon District after a mass shooting that occurred early Sunday morning in Dayton
John Minchillo
/
Associated Press
Dayton, Ohio, Mayor Nan Whaley speaks to members of the media Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, outside Ned Peppers bar in the Oregon District after a mass shooting that occurred early Sunday morning in Dayton

Ohio Democrats are trying to stir up support for a future challenger against U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), whose vote for new U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett sparked an online fundraiser.

Organizers say the fundraiser will go on to help whoever wins the Democratic nomination for Ohio's U.S. Senate race in 2022.

The request for contributions went up online and began to circulate on Twitter following Portman's vote to confirm Barrett, President Trump's nominee to fill the U.S. Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The Democrats pushing out the fundraiser have been considered future players for higher office in the state party, including Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval, Franklin County Recorder Danny O'Connor, Portage County Commissioner Kathleen Clyde and Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein.

Whaley says Portman put the Supreme Court confirmation ahead of things like pandemic assistance.

"Rob Portman has made his No. 1 priority to do what Donald Trump wants and make the Supreme Court an extreme court," Whaley said in a video posted on Twitter.

Pureval, who lost his 2018 challenge to U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) in the 1st Congressional District, says the fundraiser is about keeping Portman accountable.

"We simply cannot let him get away with it," said Pureval in his own Twitter video. "We're all focused on 2020 electing Joe Biden. But it's not enough to defeat Donald Trump. We have to defeat those who stood by him."

Republicans have pointed to polls showing that Barrett's favorable rating tended to be higher than her unfavorable rating. However, a slight plurality of Ohioans said the U.S. Senate should wait to confirm a new justice until after the election.

"Rob was proud to join a majority of the American people in supporting Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation to the Supreme Court," said Emily Benavides, a spokesperson for Portman, in a written statement.

Portman supporters also defend his record of supporting COVID-related aid, and point out that Portman has won big in his last two elections with a history of raising a lot of money. Portman last won re-election in 2016 over former Gov. Ted Strickland.

So far the online fundraiser has raised more than $25,000, according to the Ohio Democratic Party.