U.S. Reps. Steve Stivers and Bill Johnson, both Republicans who represent Athens County, are considering running for U.S. Sen. Rob Portman’s Senate seat in 2022.
Stivers, who comfortably won re-election in 2020, is said to be mulling a bid for the higher office, according to those familiar with his thinking.
He would forgo his seat in the House of Representatives in the event that he pursued a campaign for the Senate and won the primary, creating an opening in Ohio’s 15th Congressional District for the first time since 2011.
Johnson, who also won re-election in 2020 and whose district brushes up to Athens County, said in a statement that he is “seriously considering” launching a campaign for the seat and will talk with family and friends to determine if it’s something he should pursue. He would also forgo his House seat if he were to win the Republican primary.
Both representatives’ heavily gerrymandered districts will be redrawn by the time of the election.
Portman announced Monday that he wouldn’t seek another term after serving what will ultimately be more than a decade in the Senate by the time he leaves, citing partisan gridlock as a reason for his decision.
“I decided to make my announcement now because I have made up my mind, but also because it will allow whichever Republicans who choose to run plenty of time to gear up for a statewide race,” Portman said in a statement.
Portman will serve the rest of his term in the Democratic-controlled Senate, with hopes of working with President Joe Biden on bipartisan legislation.
There exists a long list of potential high-profile Ohio Republicans who may also be after Portman’s seat, including Rep. Jim Jordan, a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump.
Jordan hasn’t made any public indication of intent to run.
Also in the conversation are Secretary of State Frank LaRose, Attorney General Dave Yost and Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted — none of whom have publicly indicated they plan to run.