Rob Portman

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the impact President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court could have on Ohio's U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent Rob Portman and Democratic challenger Ted Strickland. 

It was not as if Ohio's junior U.S. senator, Rob Portman of Terrace Park, didn't have enough headaches to deal with in his bid for a second six-year term when the conundrum of President Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland came along.

The Democratic Party leadership in Washington already saw Portman as vulnerable; and an important key to the Democrats' ambitions to re-take control of the U.S. Senate in November. It is not, by any means, a pie-in-the-sky ambition.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about a variety of topics - what it would take for John Kasich to pull off the GOP presidential nomination, the high-stakes contest between Rob Portman and Ted Strickland, and newcomer Warren Davidson's win last week in the 8th Ohio Congressional District. 

The idea of Donald Trump as his party’s presidential nominee is clearly getting under the skin of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

He’s probably not tossing and turning through the night, but he is clearly worried about it. And what he is worried about is the impact a Trump candidacy would have on his ability to keep his Republican majority in the U.S. Senate in a year when so many GOP senators are in tough races.

Former Democratic governor Ted Strickland and Republican incumbent Rob Portman are in a virtual tie for Ohio's U.S. Senate seat, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.

The same poll shows that Ohio Gov. John Kasich, if he becomes the Republican presidential nominee, would easily defeat either former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in Ohio, a crucial swing state in this fall’s presidential election.

There was a time, not so long ago, when the nation’s Amalgamated Union of American Political Pundits (OK, there’s no such organization, but you know what we mean) had Ohio’s junior senator, Rob Portman, on its list of potential Republican presidential contenders.

But Portman, the Terrace Park Republican, took himself out of the running early on and committed to running for re-election to a second term in the U.S. Senate, where he has, in a few short years, become a significant voice for the GOP and a close ally of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about polls showing Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman trailing former Ohio governor Ted Strickland; and what Portman is doing to catch up. 

  If Ohio’s junior U.S. senator, Rob Portman, is a man afraid of losing his job in next year’s election, he didn’t let on Saturday morning in the parking lot of a strip center in Terrace Park where his local campaign office is located.

Under gray and foreboding skies, Portman held U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup’s nearly two-year-old son in his arms while Wenstrup introduced him to a crowd of well over 100 people – the majority of them young people – who had come out on a Saturday morning to work phone banks and knock on doors for Portman’s re-election campaign.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the struggle of Cincinnati's P.G. Sittenfeld to catch up with Ted Strickland in Ohio's U.S. Senate primary. 

Sometimes, when we think about P.G. Sittenfeld and his long-shot bid for the Democratic nomination for U.S. senator from Ohio, an old Frank Sinatra novelty song becomes our ear-worm of the day:

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