Rob Portman

U.S. Senate

Utah Sen. Mike Lee, a Tea Party favorite, is coming to Cincinnati in May to speak at the county party’s biggest fundraising dinner of the year, but he is also helping Ohio Sen. Rob Portman raise money for his re-election campaign.

Lee has agreed to be the keynote speaker at the Hamilton County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Reagan Dinner on May 16 at the invitation of Portman, according to county party chairman Alex Triantafilou.

“Senator Lee and Rob are good friends; and he wants to help Rob any way he can in getting re-elected,’’ Triantafilou said.

Ohio voters have 20 months before they go to the polls to vote for a U.S. Senator. But the race for incumbent Republican Rob Portman's seat is  already heating up. WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with news director Maryanne Zeleznik this morning about the state of the race.

The last time we checked, there were two Democratic candidates who have officially jumped into the 2016 U.S. Senate race – former Ohio governor Ted Strickland and Cincinnati council member P.G. Sittenfeld.

You wouldn’t know it by the way Republican Party leaders have been behaving lately.

So far, the vast majority of the verbal, virtual, and video bombs being lobbed by the GOP have been aimed squarely at Strickland – who, without doubt, enters the race as the best known of the two Democrats and the one with the longest record in public office.

Former Ohio Democratic governor Ted Strickland made it official Wednesday morning – he will run for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Rob Portman.

Strickland, who lost his race for re-election as governor in 2010, made the announcement official in an e-mail Wednesday morning, ending months of speculation about whether he would jump into the race.

“I’m running for the United States Senate in 2016 because I am determined to restore the American dream for working people in this country,’’ Strickland said in a press release.

It is not hard to understand why most folks in these parts might have been distracted this week from following the daily comings and goings of the nascent campaign for Ohio’s U.S. Senate seat.

The election which, for the record, is still a little over 20 months away.

First there was the distraction of the record-breaking cold and its running mate, record-breaking snow.

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