Would-Be Senators Step Forward

Feb 11, 2021

In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss the first official candidiate vying for Sen. Rob Portman's seat, and the many others who are weighing their chances.

Listen to Snollygoster on the WOSU Public Media mobile app, on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. And make sure to leave a rating and review!

In this week's episode: 

On Your Mark, Get Set, GOP!

Former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel is back. He wants to fill Portman's seat when the senator leaves in 2022. Mandel has run for Senate twice before, losing to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) in 2012 and abandoning another challenge to Brown in 2018.

Mandel is the first official candidate in the race, and in a recent interview he attacked fellow Republicans for not being pro-Trump enough and repeated false claims about election fraud.

The list of other possible candidiates remains pretty long. On the Republican side, Jane Timken, former chair of the Ohio Republican Party, she says she’s considering a run. Several Republican congressmen are still considering it, and Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance always seems to be floated as a potenital candidiate.  

On the Democratic side, former Ohio Department of Health director Amy Acton quit a pretty good job at the Columbus Foundation to “consider” a Senate campaign. Also Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, former Ohio Democratic chair David Pepper and Ohio House minority leader Emila Strong Sykes are among those who might jump into the race.

Snollygoster Of The Week: Sen. Rob Portman (and Neera Tanden)

This week, President Biden’s choice for White House budget director, Neerah Tanden, went before a Senate committee for her confirmation hearing. Tanden is the president of a left-leaning think tank and spent the past four years lobbing insults at Trump and other Republicans on social media.

When it was her time to ask the senators to give her a new job, she had to face the music, and Portman called out Tanden for her tweets. While it is fair to question Tanden on her past, it seems Portman had no trouble turning a blind eye towards Trump's name-calling for four years.

Tanden apologized for the tweets and said she “deeply regrets” them.

Send questions and comments to snollygoster@wosu.org.