Rob Portman

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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A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday morning shows a majority of Ohio voters support legalizing the personal use of marijuana, but nearly two-thirds said they would “definitely not” use it if legalized.

And the same poll showed that in the 2016 U.S. Senate race in Ohio, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, former governor Ted Strickland, leads incumbent Republican Rob Portman by three percentage points.

 WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about Ohio's U.S. Senate race; and how the outlook seems to have improved for incumbent Republican Rob Portman's re-election chances. 

It must be somewhat frustrating to be P.G. Sittenfeld these days.

The 30-year-old second-term Cincinnati council member is a candidate for the 2016 Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Rob Portman.

When he jumped in, he was hailed by many as a fresh new face, representing a new generation of young Ohio Democrats determined to bring the party back from the dead.

A potential U.S. Senate race in Ohio between Democratic challenger Ted Strickland and Republican incumbent Rob Portman is nearly a dead heat, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday morning.

After months of Strickland, the former governor, holding a substantial lead over Portman, the race now has 44 percent supporting the Democrat and 41 percent supporting Portman.

Ohio will obviously be a key state in next year's presidential election, but it will also have a key role to play in the battle for control of the U.S. Senate. WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked Monday morning with news director Maryanne Zeleznik about that already contentious race. 

There are many odd things about this battle within the ranks of Ohio Democrats over the U.S. Senate seat, with 30-year-old P.G. Sittenfeld, the council member from Cincinnati, taking on the 74-year-old former governor and congressman, Ted Strickland.

First, there is the fact that Sittenfeld, despite having the entire Ohio Democratic Party structure lined up against him, and the national party too, shows absolutely no sign of dropping out of the race against Strickland who has the lead not only in name recognition but in money raised.

But that’s not the strangest thing.

There was an air of breathless urgency in the e-mail from the Ted Strickland for Senate campaign that crashed into thousands of Ohio Democrats’ inboxes Thursday afternoon.

“If there was ever a time to show your support for Ted, that time is NOW.,’’ said the e-mail, signed by Strickland campaign manager Rebecca Pearcy.

“Polls have Ted in a dead heat with Rob Portman…Pundits are calling Ted’s campaign one of the most important races in the country to winning back the Senate majority…EVERYONE is watching to see just how much grassroots support we have.

If the election were held today, former Ohio governor Ted Strickland would defeat Republican incumbent Rob Portman in in the U.S. Senate race, according to an independent poll released Monday morning.

The Quinnipiac University poll – which looked at Senate races in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania – had the former Democratic governor with 46 percent support to 40 percent for Portman, the Terrace Park Republican who is running for a second term.