By Ben Peters
Athens NEWS Associate Editor
U.S. Rep Bill Johnson announced he won’t run to replace Sen. Rob Portman, saying his campaign wasn’t able to raise as much money as other candidates.
Johnson, a Republican whose district encompasses a portion of Athens County, previously said he was mulling a bid for the seat, but determined his candidacy was no longer viable.
“I have a day job – serving the people of Ohio’s 6th District – and I can’t push that aside and spend all my time raising the money I would need for a Senate campaign. I think I’m the guy that can win and hold the open Senate seat, but the realities of fundraising make it a real challenge,” he said in a statement.
The field of Republicans in what’s become a high-profile race includes former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, former Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken, Cleveland businessman Mike Gibbons, Cleveland luxury car dealer Bernie Moreno, Army veteran and EMS pilot Michael Leipold and IT staffing firm founder Mark Pukita, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer.
Mandel and Timken, both seen as frontrunners in the race, were routing Johnson’s fundraising numbers as of April.
“Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance and State Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) have both launched exploratory committees for potential campaigns.