Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said he’d rather run for the upper chamber again than shoot for the White House.
“It’s a great honor to represent the people of Ohio in the U.S. Senate, and I have decided to run for re-election in 2016,” Portman said in a statement late Monday night. “I am excited about continuing to serve, especially with the change in the Senate leadership.”
“With the new Republican majority, I see a real opportunity over the next two years to break the gridlock in Washington and actually get things done to help Ohioans and all Americans. That’s where I believe I can play the most constructive role.”
Portman added, “I don’t think I can run for president and be an effective senator at the same time.”
“…While I appreciate the encouragement I have received from many to run for president, my focus will remain on Ohio and running for re-election to the Senate in 2016. I look forward to formally announcing my re-election campaign in the new year.”
The former Office of Management and Budget Director was on Mitt Romney’s VP shortlist in 2012, leading many to believe he wouldn’t mind being tapped for No. 2 by the 2016 nominee.
Portman would be a pick for a presidential hopeful who wants to add a swing-state social moderate to the ticket.
In March 2013, Portman wrote an op-ed in favor of same-sex marriage, noting how his son Will came out as gay two years before.
Support for gay marriage in Ohio was at 50-43 percent earlier this year.
“I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldn’t deny them the opportunity to get married,” Portman wrote in the Columbus Dispatch. “…My position on marriage for same-sex couples was rooted in my faith tradition that marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman. Knowing that my son is gay prompted me to consider the issue from another perspective: that of a dad who wants all three of his kids to lead happy, meaningful lives with the people they love, a blessing Jane and I have shared for 26 years.”
“I wrestled with how to reconcile my Christian faith with my desire for Will to have the same opportunities to pursue happiness and fulfillment as his brother and sister. Ultimately, it came down to the Bible’s overarching themes of love and compassion and my belief that we are all children of God.”
Last November, Portman voted for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, intended to protect gays and lesbians in the workplace.