COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An ally of former President Donald Trump who recently stepped down as chair of the Ohio Republican Party announced Thursday she is joining the race for the U.S. Senate seat that the GOP’s Rob Portman is leaving.
Jane Timken’s decision sets up a 2022 primary that already includes former state treasurer and Marine veteran Josh Mandel, another Trump backer who is making his third run for the Senate.
Timken described herself as a “conservative disruptor” in her announcement, noting that Republicans did well in Ohio during the four years after she took over as state chair with Trump’s backing.
“I completely transformed and united the party into a well-oiled, pro-Trump machine that won conservative victories and advanced an America First agenda at every level — and that delivered a second victory for President Trump in our state,” she wrote.
She is untried as a statewide candidate herself, but is well-connected and wealthy. Timken has already brought on board the manager of Portman’s successful 2016 campaign, Corry Bliss, and seasoned fundraiser Natalie Baur.
Democrats who have signaled interest in pursuing Portman’s seat include former state health director Amy Acton and veteran Congressman Tim Ryan, who represents the blue-collar Mahoning Valley.
Portman handily won his seat twice but announced in January that he wouldn’t seek a third term, citing his frustration with deep partisanship and dysfunction in American politics.
Associated Press writer Kantele Franko contributed to this report.