Robert Jones Portman (born December 19, 1955) is an American Republican politician, serving as the junior United States Senator from Ohio. Portman previously served as a U.S. Representative, the 14th United States Trade Representative, and the 35th Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Portman graduated from Dartmouth College and the University of Michigan Law School. He worked briefly in the White House during the George H. W. Bush administration before entering the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the eastern half of Greater Cincinnati and neighboring counties along the Ohio River, and serving six consecutive terms. Portman resigned from Congress to serve as U.S. Trade Representative from May 2005 to May 2006. As Trade Representative, Portman is cited for initiating worldwide trade agreements between other countries and the United States, and pursuing claims against China and the European Union at the World Trade Organization. He later served in the George W. Bush administration from May 2006 to June 2007 as Director of the Office of Management and Budget, where he advocated a balanced budget. Portman is married and has three children.
A member of the Republican Party, Portman was elected U.S. Senator in 2010. Portman has voted in line with Trump's position 93.5% of the time. He has been listed as a possible Republican vice presidential candidate in the past two presidential elections. In the Senate, Portman was a member of the Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. Throughout his time in the House, the Cabinet, and the Senate, Portman has visited over thirty countries, including Israel, China, and Iraq. In 2013, Portman became the first incumbent statewide or national-level Republican to publicly support legal recognition of same-sex marriage since Lincoln Chafee in 2004. Rob Portman was listed among the ten United States Senators receiving the most funding from the National Rifle Association.
In 2017, Portman introduced the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) bill. It seeks to clarify United States sex trafficking law to make it illegal to knowingly assist, facilitate, or support sex trafficking, and amend the Section 230 safe harbors of the Communications Decency Act (which make online services immune from civil liability for the actions of their users) to exclude enforcement of federal or state sex trafficking laws from its immunity. Portman had previously led an investigation into the online classifieds service Backpage (which had been accused of facilitating child sex trafficking), and argued that Section 230 was protecting its "unscrupulous business practices" and was not designed to provide immunity to websites that facilitate sex trafficking.
|United States Senator|
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2011
Serving with Sherrod Brown
|Preceded by||George Voinovich|
|35th Director of the Office of Management and Budget|
May 29, 2006 – June 19, 2007
|President||George W. Bush|
|Preceded by||Joshua Bolten|
|Succeeded by||Jim Nussle|
|14th United States Trade Representative|
May 17, 2005 – May 29, 2006
|President||George W. Bush|
|Preceded by||Robert Zoellick|
|Succeeded by||Susan Schwab|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Ohio's 2nd district
May 4, 1993 – May 17, 2005
|Preceded by||Bill Gradison|
|Succeeded by||Jean Schmidt|
Robert Jones Portman
December 19, 1955
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
Jane Dudley (m. 1986)
|Education||Dartmouth College (BA)|
University of Michigan (JD)
Portman was born in 1955, in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Joan (née Jones) and entrepreneur William C. "Bill" Portman II. Portman was raised in a Presbyterian family. His great-grandfather on his father's side, surnamed "Portmann", immigrated from Switzerland; Portman also has Scots-Irish, English, and German ancestry.
In 1926, Portman's grandfather Robert Jones purchased the Golden Lamb Inn in Lebanon, Ohio, and, together with his future wife, Virginia Kunkle Jones, whom he married two years later, refurbished it, and decorated it with antique collectibles and Shaker furniture. The couple ran the inn together until 1969, when they retired and leased the Golden Lamb to the Comisar family, owners of the now defunct five-star Maisonette restaurant.
When Rob was young, his father borrowed money to start the Portman Equipment Company, a forklift dealership where he and his siblings all worked growing up. The company grew from a small business with five employees to one that employed over 300 people. According to a 2010 Weekly Standard profile, Portman "developed a political philosophy grounded in entrepreneurship," as a result of his experiences growing up at a time when his father was starting his own company, and hearing conversations at home "about regulations, and taxes, and government getting in the way of small business". It was from his mother Joan, a liberal Republican, that Portman inherited his political sympathy for the Republican Party.
Portman graduated from Cincinnati Country Day School in 1974, where he had served as treasurer of his class, enjoyed playing baseball, and developed an interest in politics, later telling the National Review, "[In high school,] I wasn't a Democrat or a Republican. No one in my family had ever been in politics. My dad thought it was something that got in the way." He went on to attend Dartmouth College, where he started leaning to the right, and majored in anthropology and earned a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in 1978. At Dartmouth, he was a member of the Ledyard Canoe Club, and went on several kayaking and canoeing expeditions around the world. He spent summers throughout college in the American West, on cattle farms and ranches, tending to livestock, riding horses, and assisting in related chores. In Cincinnati, Portman worked on Bill Gradison's Congressional campaign, and Gradison soon became a mentor to Portman. Portman next entered the University of Michigan Law School, earning his Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree in 1984 and serving as vice president of the student senate. During law school, Portman embarked on a kayaking and hiking trip across China, and, not long before, blind dated a young Democratic volunteer, Jane Dudley, whom he married in 1986. Dudley's aunt and uncle lived in Cincinnati and were friends with Portman's parents. Dudley embarked on a hiking trip with her aunt in the Himalayas, and took part in the date with Portman following her aunt's advice. Dudley had become interested in politics by working for a family friend who was running for the state legislature in North Carolina. She majored in political science at Vanderbilt University, and wanted to work on Capitol Hill. She then worked in a U.S. Senate campaign in 1984 for Jim Hunt who was governor of North Carolina. After graduating from law school, Portman moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked for the law firm Patton Boggs. Portman next became an associate at Graydon Head & Ritchie law firm in Cincinnati.
In 1989, Portman began his career in government as an associate White House Counsel under President George H. W. Bush. From 1989 to 1991, Portman served as George H. W. Bush's deputy assistant and director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. While serving as White House counsel under George H.W. Bush, Portman visited China, Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
In September 1996, after his return to Ohio and after a 16-year-old named Jeff Gardner died from huffing gasoline, Portman founded the Coalition for a Drug-Free Greater Cincinnati. Portman wrote of the effort:
The coalition advances "a comprehensive effort to address youth substance abuse."
In 1993, Portman entered a special election to fill the seat of Congressman Bill Gradison of Ohio's second congressional district, who had stepped down to become president of the Health Insurance Association of America. In the Republican primary, Portman faced six-term Congressman Bob McEwen, who had lost his Sixth District seat to Ted Strickland in November 1992; real estate developer Jay Buchert, president of the National Association of Home Builders; and several lesser known candidates.
In the primary, Portman was criticized for his previous law firm's work for Haitian president Baby Doc Duvalier. Buchert ran campaign commercials labeling Portman and McEwen "Prince Rob and Bouncing Bob." Portman lost four of the district's five counties. However, he won the largest, Hamilton County, his home county and home to 57% of the district's population. Largely on the strength of his victory in Hamilton, Portman took 17,531 votes (36%) overall, making him the overall winner.
In the general election, Portman defeated his Democratic opponent, attorney Lee Hornberger by 53,020 (70%) to 22,652 (29%).
Portman was re-elected in 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2004, defeating Democrats Les Mann, Thomas R. Chandler, and then Waynesville mayor Charles W. Sanders four times in a row.
During his tenure in Congress, Portman authored or co-authored over a dozen bills that became law, including legislation to reform the Internal Revenue Service, curb unfunded mandates, and expand pensions. Portman also co-authored legislation to swap Costa Rica's debt for the preservation of tropical forests. He published an article called "Addicted to Failure" in the congressional Policy Review in autumn 1996. In the article, Portman writes:
Of Portman's work on the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, Pete Sepp of the National Taxpayers Union said, "He set a professional work environment that rose above partisanship and ultimately gave taxpayers more rights." Democratic Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones from Cleveland said Portman, "compared to other Republicans, is pleasant and good to work with." Additionally, during the first four years of the Bush Administration, Portman served as a liaison between Congressional Republicans and the White House. Portman voted for the Iraq War Resolution in 2002. Portman was known for his willingness to work with Democrats to ensure that important legislation was enacted.
Portman has said that his proudest moments as a U.S. Representative were "when we passed the balanced budget agreement and the welfare reform bill." As a congressman, Portman traveled to Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait and Mexico. During his time in the House, Portman began assisting prominent Republican candidates prepare for debates by standing in for their opponents in practice debates. He has taken on the role of Lamar Alexander (for Bob Dole in 1996), Al Gore (for George W. Bush in 2000), Hillary Clinton (for Rick Lazio in 2000), Joe Lieberman (for Dick Cheney in 2000), John Edwards (for Cheney in 2004), and Barack Obama (for John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012). His portrayals mimic not only the person's point of view but also their mannerisms, noting for instance that he listened to Obama's audiobook reading to study his pattern of speech.
Portman spoke on March 17, 2005 at the White House during a ceremony at which President George W. Bush nominated him to be United States Trade Representative, calling Portman "a good friend, a decent man, and a skilled negotiator." Portman was confirmed on April 29, and sworn in on May 17, 2005.
Portman sponsored an unfair-trading claim to the World Trade Organization against Airbus because American allies in the European Union were providing subsidies that arguably helped Airbus compete against Boeing. European officials countered that Boeing received unfair subsidies from the United States, and the WTO ruled separately that they each received unfair government assistance.
Portman spent significant time out of the United States negotiating trade agreements with roughly 30 countries, visiting Brazil, Burkina Faso, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, South Korea, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. During his tenure, Portman also helped to win passage of the Central American Free Trade Agreement. Portman utilized a network of former House colleagues to get support for the treaty to lift trade barriers between the United States and Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Honduras. According to The Hill, Portman took his wife, Jane, with him to the Capitol on their wedding anniversary so he could work on the deal.
As the United States' Trade Representative, Portman was an attendant of the World Trade Organization's Hong Kong conference in 2005. He addressed the conference with a speech on development in Doha, and advocated a 60% cut in targeted worldwide agricultural subsidies by 2010. Portman then sponsored a claim against China for extra charges it levied on American auto parts. U.S. steel manufacturers subsequently beseeched the White House to halt an influx of Chinese steel pipe used to make plumbing and fence materials. This was a recurring complaint and the United States International Trade Commission recommended imposing import quotas, noting "the economic threat to the domestic pipe industry from the Chinese surge." With Portman as his top trade advisor, Bush replied that quotas were not part of U.S. economic interest. He reasoned the American homebuilding industry used the pipe and wanted to maintain a cheap supply and that other cheap exporters would step in to fill China's void if Chinese exports were curtailed. This occurred at a time when the U.S. steel industry lost $150 million in profit between 2005 and 2007, although China's minister of commerce cited the U.S. industry's "record high profit margins" in the first half of 2004 and continued growth in 2005. China next lobbied Portman to leave matters alone, meeting with his office twice and threatening in a letter that restrictions and what it called "discrimination against Chinese products" would bring a "serious adverse impact" to the U.S.-China economic and trade relationship. Portman vowed to "hold [China's] feet to the fire" and provide a "top-to-bottom review" of the U.S.–China trade relationship. Portman's claim that China had improperly favored domestic auto parts became the first successful trade suit against China in the World Trade Organization. During Portman's tenure as trade ambassador, the U.S. trade deficit with China increased by 21 percent.
On April 18, 2006, President George W. Bush nominated Portman to be the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, replacing Joshua Bolten, who was appointed White House Chief of Staff. Portman said at the time that he looked forward to the responsibility, "It's a big job. The Office of Management and Budget touches every spending and policy decision in the federal government," while President Bush expressed his confidence in the nominee, "The job of OMB director is a really important post and Rob Portman is the right man to take it on. Rob's talent, expertise and record of success are well known within my administration and on Capitol Hill." He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate unanimously by voice vote on May 26, 2006.
As OMB director from May 2006 to August 2007, Portman helped to craft a $2.9 trillion budget for fiscal year 2008. The Cincinnati Enquirer wrote that "The plan called for making the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent, at a cost of more than $500 billion over the five-year life of the proposal. It requested a hefty increase in military spending, along with reductions in low-income housing assistance, environmental initiatives, and health care safety-net programs." Portman is said to have been "frustrated" with the post, calling the budget that President Bush's office sent to Congress, "not my budget, his budget," and saying, "it was a fight, internally." Edward Lazear of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers said that Portman was the leading advocate for a balanced budget, while other former Bush administration officials said that Portman was the leading advocate for fiscal discipline, within the administration.
On June 19, 2007, Portman resigned his position of OMB director, citing a desire to spend more time with his family and three children. Democratic Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee Kent Conrad expressed regret at Portman's resignation, saying, "He is a person of credibility and decency that commanded respect on both sides of the aisle."
On November 8, 2007, Portman joined the law firm of Squire Sanders as part of the firm's transactional and international trade practice in Cincinnati, Ohio. His longtime chief of staff, Rob Lehman, also joined the firm as a lobbyist in their Washington, D.C. office. In 2007, Portman founded Ohio's Future P.A.C., a political action committee dedicated to ensuring "the critical policy issues important to Ohioans remain at the forefront of Ohio's political agenda." In 2008, Portman was cited as a potential running mate for Republican presidential candidate John McCain. Portman remained critical of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, passed while he was out of office.
On January 14, 2009, two days after George Voinovich announced he would not be running for re-election, Portman publicly declared his candidacy for the open U.S. Senate seat. Running unopposed in the Republican primary, Portman benefitted substantially from Tea Party support, and by July 2010 had raised more campaign funds than Democrat Lee Fisher by a 9 to 1 margin. Portman campaigned on the issue of jobs and job growth. He toured Ohio in a large RV, meeting with voters and reporters between events.
Of all candidates for public office in the U.S., Portman was the top recipient of corporate money from insurance industries and commercial banks in 2010. Portman possessed the most campaign funds of any Republican during 2010, at $5.1 million, raising $1.3 million in his third quarter of fundraising.
Portman won the election with a margin of 57 to 39 percent, winning 82 of Ohio's 88 counties. In a 2010 campaign advertisement, Portman said a "[ cap-and-trade bill] could cost Ohio 100,000 jobs we cannot afford to lose;" subsequently, The Cleveland Plain Dealer and PolitiFact called Portman's claim "barely true" with the most pessimistic estimates.
The 2016 re-election campaign posed several special challenges to Portman and his team—it would be run in heavily targeted Ohio, it would occur in a presidential year when Democratic turnout was expected to peak, and both parties would bombard Buckeye State voters with tens of millions of dollars in TV, cable and digital ads for the national, senatorial and downticket contests. For his manager, Portman chose Corry Bliss, who had just run the successful re-election of Sen. Pat Roberts in Kansas. Portman and Bliss chose to run what Time magazine called "a hyperlocal campaign without betting on the nominee's coattails."
As Real Clear Politics noted, Portman faced "the thorny challenge of keeping distance from Trump in a state Trump [was] poised to win. Portman, in the year of the outsider, [was] even more of an insider than Clinton ... Yet he [ran] a local campaign focused on issues like human trafficking and opioid addiction, and secured the endorsement of the Teamsters as well as other unions" (despite being a mostly conservative Republican).
Polls showed the race even (or Portman slightly behind) as of June 2016; afterwards, Portman led Democratic ex-Gov. Ted Strickland in every public survey through Election Day. The final result was 58.0% to 37.2%, nearly a 21-point margin for Portman.
Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post argued that the context of Ohio's result had wider implications. "There are a lot of reasons Republicans held the Senate this fall. But Portman's candidacy in Ohio is the most important one. Portman took a seemingly competitive race in a swing state and put it out of reach by Labor Day, allowing money that was ticketed for his state to be in other races, such as North Carolina and Missouri ..."
The Washington Post said "Portman took the crown for best campaign", while Real Clear Politics said, "Sen. Rob Portman ran the campaign of the year.". Portman himself was generous in praising his campaign manager: ""With an emphasis on utilizing data, grassroots, and technology, Corry led our campaign from behind in the polls to a 21-point victory. He's one of the best strategists in the country."
In the 112th Congress, Portman voted with his party 90% of the time. However, in the 114th United States Congress, Portman was ranked as the third most bipartisan member of the U.S. Senate by the Bipartisan Index, a metric created jointly by The Lugar Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy to reflect Congressional bipartisanship. During the first session of the 115th Congress, Portman's bipartisanship score improved further, propelling him to second in the Senate rankings (only Senator Susan Collins scoring higher), Portman's intellectual leadership among the Senate G.O.P., and his fundraising capabilities, led to his being named the Vice Chairman for Finance of the National Republican Senatorial Committee for the 2014 election cycle. In March 2013, Portman was one of several Republican senators invited to have dinner with President Obama at The Jefferson Hotel in an attempt by the administration to court perceived moderate members of the upper chamber for building consensual motivation in Congress; however, Portman did not attend and instead had dinner with an unnamed Democratic senator.
In August 2011, Portman was selected by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to participate in the United States Congress Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. During the committee's work, Portman developed strong relationships with the other members, especially Sen. John Kerry and Rep. Chris Van Hollen. The committee was ultimately unsuccessful, with Portman left disappointed, saying "I am very sad about this process not succeeding because it was a unique opportunity to both address the fiscal crisis and give the economy a shot in the arm."
Portman spoke at the May 7, 2011 Michigan Law School commencement ceremonies, which was the subject of criticism by some who opposed his stance on same-sex marriage. He and his wife walked in the 50th anniversary march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge commemorating Bloody Sunday and the March on Selma.
Portman belongs to the following caucuses in the United States Senate:
Senator Rob Portman is sometimes considered to be a more moderate Republican. GovTrack places Portman toward the center of the Senate's ideological spectrum; according to GovTrack's analysis, Portman is the third most moderate Republican in 2017 being to the right of Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski but to the left of his other Republican colleagues. The American Conservative Union gives Portman a lifetime 80% conservative grade. The progressive Americans for Democratic Action gave Portman a 25% liberal quotient in 2014. The non-partisan National Journal gave Senator Portman a 2013 composite ideology score of 71% conservative and 29% liberal.
According to Five ThirtyEight, which tracks Congressional records, their analysis found that Senator Portman voted in line with President Trump's position on legislation 93.3% of the time as of July 2018. CQ RollCall, which also tracks voting records, found that Portman voted with President Obama's positions on legislation 59.5% of the time in 2011. Portman was one of five Senate Republicans who voted with President Obama's position more than half the time.
In July 2019, Portman was one of nine lawmakers to become a founding member of the Roosevelt Conservation Caucus, a group of Republican members of Congress meant to focus on environmental issues with specific priorities including reducing water and ocean plastic pollution, and heightening access to public lands and waters in the United States for outdoor recreation, hunting and fishing.
Portman is a leading advocate for a balanced budget amendment. Portman worked with Democratic Senator Jon Tester in 2012 to end the practice of government shutdowns and partnered with Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill on an inquiry into the Obama administration's public relations spending. Portman has proposed "a balanced approach to the deficit" by reforming entitlement programs, writing "[r]eforms should not merely squeeze health beneficiaries or providers but should rather reshape key aspects of these programs to make them more efficient, flexible and consumer-oriented." Portman became known for his ability to work in a bipartisan fashion when working to pass a repeal of the excise tax on telephone service. He also unsuccessfully proposed an amendment to the surface transportation reauthorization bill to allow states to keep the gas tax money they collect, instead of sending it to Washington with some returned later.
Portman has repeatedly supported legislation to treat currency manipulation by countries as an unfair trade practice and to impose duties on Chinese imports if China does not stop the practice. Portman opposes the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement in its current form because he said it does not address currency manipulation and includes less-strict country-of-origin rules for auto parts. In April 2015, Portman co-sponsored an amendment to Trade Promotion Authority legislation which would require the administration to seek enforceable rules to prevent currency manipulation by trade partners as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. While in the Senate, Portman has visited Afghanistan twice, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Jordan, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates; additionally, he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
A bill by Portman that would allow construction of a memorial to Peace Corps volunteers in the nation's capital was approved by the House of Representatives in January 2014 in a 387 to 7 vote. No public money will be spent on the memorial.
Proponents of the Law of the Sea treaty aspire to admirable goals, including codifying the U.S. Navy's navigational rights and defining American economic interests in valuable offshore resources. But the treaty's terms reach well beyond those good intentions. ... The terms of the treaty are not only expansive, but often ill-defined. [And as] Justice John Paul Stevens noted in a concurring opinion in Medellin v. Texas, the Law of the Sea treaty appears to "incorporate international judgments into domestic law" because it expressly provides that decisions of the tribunal "'shall be enforceable in the territories of the States Parties in the same manner as judgments or orders of the highest court of the State Party in whose territory the enforcement is sought.'" [T]he treaty equates tribunal decisions with decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court. This means that private litigants will likely be able to invoke tribunal judgments as enforceable in U.S. courts—against the government and possibly against U.S. businesses.
Portman supported free trade agreements with Central America, Australia, Chile and Singapore, voted against withdrawing from the World Trade Organization, and was hailed by Bush for his "great record as a champion of free and fair trade."
In March 2016, Portman authored the bipartisan bill the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act, along with Democratic Senator Chris Murphy. Congressman Adam Kinzinger introduced the U.S. House version of the bill. After the 2016 U.S. presidential election, worries grew that Russian propaganda on social media spread and organized by the Russian government swayed the outcome of the election, and representatives in the U.S. Congress took action to safeguard the National security of the United States by advancing legislation to monitor incoming propaganda from external threats. On November 30, 2016, legislators approved a measure within the National Defense Authorization Act to ask the U.S. State Department to take action against foreign propaganda through an interagency panel. The legislation authorized funding of $160 million over a two-year-period. The initiative was developed through the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act.
Portman co-authored a pro-Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which would make it illegal for companies to engage in boycotts against Israel or Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.
In 2011, Portman voted to limit the government's ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, and in 2015, he voted against the Clean Power Plan. In 2013, he voted for a point of order opposing a carbon tax or a fee on carbon emissions.
In July 2012, Portman remarked in a speech delivered on the Senate floor:
We've got to produce more [oil], we've got to produce it here at home to get away from the OPEC cartel. ... I come from Ohio [and] we have a tradition of producing oil and gas. ... We kind of got away from it [but] we're back in the business thanks to the shale finds. It's the Marcellus Shale, it's the Utica Shale, it's natural gas, but it's also oil and what they call wet gas. ... People are really excited about this.
During a radio interview with Fox News Radio in 2012, Portman said: "The president [Obama] says, you know, 'we're doing more.' Well, on public lands, we're doing less. Last year, we produced 14 percent less oil on public lands than we did the year before. We should be doing more on public lands, and that's the outer continental shelf and what's going on in Alaska and so on." Portman supports development of the Keystone XL pipeline, stating "The arguments when you line them up are too strong not to do this. I do think that at the end of the day the president [Obama] is going to go ahead with this."
Portman has expressed concern about the slow pace of approving loan guarantees for developing nuclear power facilities by the Department of Energy during the Obama administration. Portman would later co-sponsor an amendment to the 2017 Energy Bill that specifies climate change is real and human activity contributes to the problem.
On June 27, 2013, Portman co-sponsored the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2013 (S. 1254; 113th Congress), a bill that would reauthorize and modify the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act of 1998 and would authorize the appropriation of $20.5 million annually through 2018 for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to mitigate the harmful effects of algal blooms and hypoxia. Portman said that "this legislation takes critical steps toward protecting Lake Erie and grand Lake St. Marys from harmful algae that has become a tremendous problem for our state ... we cannot afford to let this threat to our tourism, fishing industries, and health go unchecked."
Portman introduced the World War II Memorial Prayer Act of 2013 (S. 1044; 113th Congress), a bill that would direct the United States Secretary of the Interior to install at the World War II memorial in the District of Columbia a suitable plaque or an inscription with the words that President Franklin D. Roosevelt prayed with the United States on June 6, 1944, the morning of D-Day. Portman argued that Roosevelt's "word brought strength and comfort to many during one of the most challenging times for our nation ... We should not underestimate the power of prayer through difficult times."
In June 2018, Portman was one of thirteen Republican senators to sign a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions requesting a moratorium on the Trump administration family separation policy while Congress drafted legislation. In March 2019, Portman was one of a dozen Republicans who broke with their party, joining all Democrats, to vote for a resolution rejecting Trump's use of an emergency declaration to build a border wall. He later co-sponsored a bill to provide for congressional approval of national emergency declarations.
Portman has an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA) for his support of the 2nd amendment. The NRA has endorsed Portman in past elections. As of 2017, Portman has received $3,061,941 in donations from the NRA.
In January 2019, Portman was one of thirty-one Republican senators to cosponsor the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, a bill introduced by John Cornyn and Ted Cruz that would grant individuals with concealed carry privileges in their home state the right to exercise this right in any other state with concealed carry laws while concurrently abiding by that state’s laws.
In September 2018, Portman stated he would support Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court, stating "The Brett Kavanaugh I know is a man of integrity and humility" and did not call for an investigation by the FBI for sexual assault allegations.
Portman opposed President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to temporarily curtail Muslim immigration until better screening methods are devised. He stated that the executive order was not "properly vetted" and that he supported the federal judges who blocked the order's implementation.
Portman is a staunch opponent of the Affordable Care Act and has called for it to be repealed and replaced. In 2017, Portman opposed the AHCA, the healthcare bill passed by the House. He opposed steep cuts to Medicaid because the expansion of the program had allowed some Ohioans to gain coverage, including some impacted by Ohio's opioid crisis. However, as a member of a group of 13 Republican Senators tasked with writing a Senate version of the AHCA, he subsequently supported proposed cuts to Medicaid that would be phased in over seven years.
In July 2017, Portman joined six other Republicans who broke with their party to vote with every Democrat against repealing Obamacare without a replacement. However, Portman voted in favor of the 'Skinny' repeal of Obamacare.
In February 2014, Portman voted against reauthorizing long-term unemployment benefits to 1.7 million jobless Americans. He expressed concern with the inclusion of a provision in the bill which would allow companies to make smaller contributions to employee pension funds. Portman voted in April 2014 to extend federal funding for unemployment benefits. Federal funding had been initiated in 2008 and expired at the end of 2013.
In April 2014, the United States Senate debated the Minimum Wage Fairness Act (S. 1737; 113th Congress). The bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) to increase the federal minimum wage for employees to $10.10 per hour over the course of a two-year period. The bill was strongly supported by President Barack Obama and many of the Democratic Senators, but strongly opposed by Republicans in the Senate and House. Portman opposed the bill, arguing that Ohio already had a higher minimum wage than the federal minimum wage, indicating that the states should be able to make their own decisions.
In March 2015, Portman voted for an amendment to establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to allow employees to earn paid sick time.
Portman supports making it more difficult for non-parental adults to help minors bypass state abortion laws. On January 24, 2013, Portman sponsored a bill that would make it a federal crime to transport a minor across state lines for an abortion if it would circumvent a state law requiring parental involvement.
On March 14, 2013, Portman announced that he had changed his stance on gay marriage, and now is in support of its legalization. The change came two years after his son Will came out to Portman and his wife as gay in 2011; Portman says in the March 2013 CNN interview that "I'm announcing today a change of heart [for] gay marriage." Prior to this revelation, Portman was noted as having a voting record that was strongly opposed to gay rights, consistent with statements he had made on the subject. Portman co-sponsored the Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996, defining marriage as one man and one woman, and in 1999 he voted for a measure prohibiting same-sex couples in Washington, D.C., from adopting children. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which supports same-sex marriage and gay rights, gave Portman an 85% score in 2016 and a 45% in 2014; the HRC also gives Portman a 100% rating for sharing their position on marriage equality. Log Cabin Republicans, a Republican PAC which supports gay rights, endorsed Portman.
In November 2013, Portman was one of ten Republican senators to vote in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), after the Senate adopted an amendment proposed by him to expand the religious protections.
Portman voted for reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2013. He wrote about a proposed amendment to the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 which would seek to terminate human sex trafficking, writing:
Our idea is to bring Republicans and Democrats together in this fight to respect and protect human dignity. ... When it comes to human trafficking at home or abroad, our government's policy must be one of zero tolerance. It is an issue with special meaning for me. I grew up with my mom's stories about her great-grandparents, Quaker abolitionists who lived on a farm north of Dayton and helped slaves seek their freedom by way of the Underground Railroad. In fact, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, located on the banks of the Ohio River in Cincinnati, is home to a permanent exhibit on human trafficking. ... A few years ago, the Ohio Trafficking in Persons Study Commission estimated that more than 1,000 Ohio youth are victims of sex trafficking every year, and that many more are at risk.
On abortion, Portman describes himself as pro-life. He voted in favor of banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Portman does support legal access to abortion in cases of rape and incest or if the woman's life is in danger. National Right to Life Committee and the Campaign for Working Families, both pro-life PACs, gave Portman a 100% rating in 2018; NARAL Pro-Choice America gives him a 0%, Planned Parenthood, which is pro-choice, gives him a lifetime 4% rating, and Population Connection, another pro-choice PAC, gave Portman an 11% rating in 2002.
In January 2018, Portman was one of thirty-six Republican senators to sign a letter to President Trump requesting he preserve the North American Free Trade Agreement by modernizing it for the economy of the 21st Century.
In November 2018, Portman was one of twelve Republican senators to sign a letter to President Trump requesting the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement be submitted to Congress by the end of the month to allow a vote on it before the end of the year as they were concerned "passage of the USMCA as negotiated will become significantly more difficult" if having to be approved through the incoming 116th United States Congress.
Many national publications speculated on Portman becoming the vice presidential nominee soon after Romney became the presumptive nominee. In "Why Rob Portman Will Be Romney's Vice Presidential Nominee," an article in The Atlantic, acclaimed syndicated journalist Major Garrett authored "In the frenzied environment that will accompany the prelude to Romney's pick, the Portman choice may land with a thud on the charisma meter, but it won't set in motion a wave of "guess what" stories and will allow Romney to focus on the campaign, not thorny revelations that must be ritualistically turned into an us-against-them media meme. In fact, Portman might actually talk Boston out of its hypertensive and allergic reactions to reporters."
Closer to the time of a selection, news agencies began highlighting Portman's perceived strengths and weaknesses. Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post wrote "[Portman]'s spent time in both the executive and legislative branches and everywhere he's served he's won kudos for his abilities. It's hard to imagine that even his staunchest Democratic opponents would be able to argue that Portman wouldn't be up to the task of being vice president or even president."
After the selection of Paul Ryan, Portman spoke at the 2012 Republican National Convention about trade and his family business. On trade agreements, Portman stated: "President Obama is the first president in 75 years-Democrat or Republican-who hasn't even sought the ability to negotiate export agreements and open markets overseas. Now why is this important? Because 95 percent of the world's consumers live outside our borders. And to create jobs, our workers and our farmers need to sell more of what we make to those people." On October 13, 2012 Mitt Romney spoke at and toured the Golden Lamb Inn.
Portman outlined his new conservative vision for government in early May 2014. He coined the term "constructive conservatism" as an approach to tackling poverty which is more focused on targeted, results-oriented measures. He pointed to his efforts to prevent recidivism, help vulnerable children by preventing human trafficking, and provide worker retraining programs as examples of this approach.
In March 2014, Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia Center for Politics speculated that Portman might run for president in 2016. Sabato forecasted: "[Portman] might have an edge in 2016. Americans tire of their incumbent presidents, and often choose a very different successor with dissimilar characteristics. Portman is all steak and no sizzle." In October 2014, students from the College of William and Mary formed the Draft Rob Portman PAC to encourage Portman to run for president in 2016. However, Portman announced in December 2014 that he would not run for president and would instead seek a second term in the United States Senate.
Portman and Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) proposed the Israel Anti-Boycott Act in late 2018 which would make it illegal for companies to engage in boycotts against Israel. Cardin and Portman have been strongly in promotion of the bill, working to integrate it into larger spending legislation to be signed by President Trump.
|1994||Les Mann||43,730||23%||Rob Portman||150,128||77%|
|1996||Thomas R. Chandler||58,715||23%||Rob Portman||186,853||72%||Kathleen M. McKnight||Natural Law||13,905||5%|
|1998||Charles W. Sanders||49,293||24%||Rob Portman||154,344||76%|
|2000||Charles W. Sanders||64,091||23%||Rob Portman||204,184||74%||Robert E. Bidwell||Libertarian||9,266||3%|
|2002||Charles W. Sanders||48,785||26%||Rob Portman||139,218||74%||*|
|2004||Charles W. Sanders||89,598||28%||Rob Portman **||227,102||72%||*|
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 2002, James Condit, Jr. received 13 votes. In 2004, James Condit, Jr. received 60 votes.
**Portman resigned his term early to serve as U.S. Trade Representative.
|2010||Lee Fisher||1,448,092||39%||Rob Portman||2,125,810||57%||Eric Deaton
|2016||Ted Strickland||1,929,873||37%||Rob Portman||3,048,467||58%||Tom Connors
Joseph R. DeMare
Portman married Jane Dudley in July 1986. Dudley, who previously worked for Democratic Congressman Tom Daschle, "agreed to become a Republican when her husband agreed to become a Methodist." The Portmans attend church services at Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church. Jane Portman has served on the board of the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center for 7 years and has driven a route for Meals on Wheels for 12 years. The Portmans have three children. Portman still owns the Golden Lamb Inn with his brother Wym Portman and sister Ginna Portman Amis. In 2004, a Dutch conglomerate purchased the Portman Equipment Company. Portman had researched the firm's local acquisitions, stating "It's a concept I've heard described as 'Glocalism.' All these companies are trying to achieve economies of scale. This lets us develop a network and coverage globally. But you can still have the local spirit, the local name and the customer intimacy to accomplish great things." A July 2012 article about Portman stated that in 40 years, his only citation has been a traffic ticket for an improper turn while driving. Portman is an avid kayaker, is fluent in Spanish, and enjoys bike rides.
In December 2004, Portman and Cheryl Bauer published a book on the 19th century Shaker community at Union Village, in Turtlecreek Township, Warren County, Ohio. The book was titled Wisdom's Paradise: The Forgotten Shakers of Union Village.
'He was not in any classic or normal sense a lobbyist,' said Stuart M. Pape, a Patton Boggs partner who supervised Portman.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 2nd congressional district
| United States Trade Representative
| Director of the Office of Management and Budget
|Party political offices|
| Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Ohio
| U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Ohio
Served alongside: Sherrod Brown
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Senators by seniority
The 2010 United States Senate election in Ohio was held on November 2, 2010, as one of many Ohio elections in 2010. Incumbent two-term Republican U.S. Senator George Voinovich decided to retire instead of seeking a third term. Republican Rob Portman won the open seat.2016 United States Senate election in Ohio
The 2016 United States Senate election in Ohio was held November 8, 2016, to elect a member of the United States Senate to represent the State of Ohio, concurrently with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, as well as other elections to the United States Senate in other states and elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections. The close of registration for electors in the primary election was December 16, 2015, and the primary election took place on March 15, 2016.
Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Rob Portman faced former Democratic Governor Ted Strickland. Green Party nominee Joseph DeMare was also on the ballot along with two other independent candidates and one officially declared write-in candidate.
Initially, the seat was viewed by many to be a potential Democratic pickup, but Portman ultimately won reelection to a second term by a landslide, winning 58.32% of the popular vote. His popular vote total of 3,118,567 is the second largest in the state's history, falling 346,084 votes short of George Voinovich's record of 3,464,651 in his 2004 reelection to his second and final term.Coalition for a Drug-Free Greater Cincinnati
The Coalition for a Drug-Free Greater Cincinnati is an anti-drug organization in Greater Cincinnati.
Rob Portman founded the Coalition for a Drug-Free Greater Cincinnati before becoming a congressman. The organization advances “a comprehensive effort to address youth substance abuse.”Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act
Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act is a bipartisan bill that was introduced by the United States Congress on 10 May 2016. The bill was initially called the Countering Information Warfare Act.
The bipartisan legislation was written in March 2016 by U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R, OH) and Chris Murphy (D, CT). It was additionally introduced in the United States House of Representatives in a bipartisan fashion; co-sponsors included Congressmen Adam Kinzinger (R, IL) and Ted Lieu (D, CA).
In both the House and Senate the bill was included in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2017. It passed the House in this fashion in a conference report vote on 2 December 2016. The Senate then passed the measure in a conference report on December 8 by a tally of 92–7.Jim Nussle
James Allen Nussle (born June 27, 1960) is the president and chief executive officer of the Credit Union National Association. He is a former American politician. Nussle served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1991 to 2007, was the Republican nominee for the 2006 Iowa gubernatorial election, losing to Democrat Chet Culver and was the director of the Office of Management and Budget from 2007 to 2009.Joshua Bolten
Joshua Brewster Bolten (born August 16, 1954) is an American lawyer and politician. Bolten served as the White House Chief of Staff to U.S. President George W. Bush, replacing Andrew Card on April 14, 2006.Lee Fisher
Lee Irwin Fisher (born August 7, 1951) is an American lawyer, law dean and professor, former non-profit executive, and former Ohio statewide public officeholder. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as the 64th Lieutenant Governor of Ohio, with Governor Ted Strickland, from 2007 until 2011. He serves as the Dean of Cleveland–Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University. He is also the Joseph Hostetler -BakerHostetler Chair in Law.
He is Senior Fellow, Cleveland State University's Levin College of Urban Affairs; and Urban Scholar, College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs and the Great Cities Institute, University of Illinois at Chicago. He is a member of the Cleveland Community Police Commission (appointed by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson), the Cleveland Group Plan Commission (appointed by County Executive Armond Budish), the Board of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, and Co-Chair (with former Ohio Governor Bob Taft), of the Ohio Advisory Council, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition.
Before his election as lieutenant governor, Fisher served as a member of the Ohio General Assembly, first in the Ohio House of Representatives (1981–1982) and then in the Ohio Senate (1982–1990). He was Attorney General of Ohio from 1991 to 1995 and the Democratic nominee for Governor of Ohio in 1998, losing to Republican Bob Taft.
From 1999 to 2006, he served as President and CEO of the Center for Families and Children (CFC) in Cleveland. CFC is a $20 million human services nonprofit with over 300 staff. In 2001 he graduated from the Center for Creative Leadership's "Leadership at the Peak" program. In January 2006, then-Congressman Ted Strickland asked Fisher to be his running mate in the 2006 gubernatorial election. Fisher left CFC on March 1, 2006, to run with Strickland. The two were elected. As Lieutenant Governor, he also served as the Director of the Ohio Department of Development and Chair of both the Ohio Third Frontier Commission and the Clean Ohio Council.
Fisher did not run for re-election in 2010, instead running for the U.S. Senate. He won the Democratic primary for the seat held by the retiring Republican George Voinovich, losing to Republican nominee Rob Portman.
He was announced to be the new CEO and President of CEOs for Cities in May 2011.
In 2016, Fisher was appointed Interim Dean of Cleveland State University's Cleveland–Marshall College of Law for the 2016-17 academic year. On May 3, 2017, Fisher was named permanent Dean after a national search.List of United States Senate elections in Ohio
This is an incomplete list of elections for United States Senators from Ohio.
Ohio is entitled to elect two senators to the United States Senate for six-year terms. These elections are staggered and Ohio's two senators are in election schedule classes 1 and 3.
√ Bold type indicates winner. Italic type indicates incumbent.List of United States Senators from Ohio
Ohio was admitted to the Union on March 1, 1803 and elects U.S. Senators to Class 1 and Class 3. Its current U.S. Senators are Democrat Sherrod Brown (serving since 2007) and Republican Rob Portman (serving since 2011), making it one of nine states to have a split United States Senate delegation.Malaysia–United States Free Trade Agreement
The Malaysia-US Free Trade Agreement is a proposed treaty between Malaysia and the United States of America. The treaty aims to liberalise each other markets to parties of the agreement and directly encourage trade between the two countries. At the time of proposal in 2005, the US was Malaysia's largest trading partner while Malaysia is the 10th largest trading partner for the US. Negotiation began in June 2005.The Malaysian delegation was led by then Minister of International Trade and Industry, Rafidah Abdul Aziz and the US delegation was led by United States Trade Representative Rob Portman and his deputy, Ambassador Karan K. Bhatia.Ohio's 2nd congressional district special election, 1993
A special election was held on May 19, 1993 Ohio's 2nd congressional district following the resignation of Bill Gradison to become president of the Health Insurance Association of America. Future United States Senator Rob Portman won this southern Ohio district overwhelmingly.Politics of Ohio
Political control of Ohio has oscillated between the two major parties. Republicans outnumber Democrats in Ohio government. The governor, Mike DeWine, is a Republican, as are all other non-judicial statewide elected officials: Lieutenant Governor of Ohio Jon A. Husted, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, Ohio State Auditor Keith Faber, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose and Ohio State Treasurer Robert Sprague.
In the Ohio State Senate the Republicans have firm control (24-9), and in the Ohio House of Representatives the Republicans control the delegation (61-38). The Ohio Congressional Delegation is mostly Republican as well; twelve representatives are Republicans while four are Democrats. The Congressional map is gerrymandered (for Republicans), but is going under trial in 2019. One U.S. senator, Rob Portman, is a Republican, while the other, Sherrod Brown, is a Democrat. Most of the mayors of the ten largest cities in the state (Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron, Dayton, Youngstown, Canton, Parma, Lorain) are Democrats. The Republicans are strongest in the rural Northwest, the affluent Cincinnati and Columbus suburbs, and have been making gains in Appalachian Southeast Ohio over the past decade. The Democrats rely on the state's major cities as well as Northeast Ohio, and have been making gains in educated suburban areas in recent years.
Due to a close split in party registration and its historical electoral importance, Ohio was considered a key battleground state in the 2004 U.S. Presidential election. The state was vital to President George W. Bush's re-election chances, because he won there by nearly four points in 2000 and because no Republican has ever been elected President without winning Ohio (Coffey et al. 2011). In that election, Bush won the state with 51% of the vote, giving him its 20 electoral votes and the margin he needed in the Electoral College for re-election. The state was fiercely contested in 2008 and 2012 as well, with President Barack Obama winning narrowly on both occasions. Since Republicans started winning elections, Ohio has voted with the winning candidate except for Grover Cleveland in both 1884 and 1892, Franklin D Roosevelt in 1944 and John F Kennedy in 1960.
In addition, Ohio's electoral vote total has been declining for decades. For the 2012 election it had 18 electoral votes, down from 21 in 2000 and down from a peak of 26 in 1968. Ohio now has its fewest electoral votes since 1828, when it cast 16. The state cast 3.71 percent of all electoral votes in 2004, the smallest percentage since it cast 3.40 percent of the votes in 1820. Ohio lost two electoral votes after the results of the 2010 United States Census, leaving it with 18 electoral votes for the presidential elections in 2012, 2016 and 2020.
Ohio's large population has long made the state a major influence in politics. Seven presidents have hailed from Ohio, all Republicans: Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Howard Taft and Warren G. Harding. Since 1964 the state has been a perfect Bellwether in predicting the outcome of presidential elections.
The General Assembly, with the approval of the governor, draws the U.S. congressional district lines for Ohio's 16 seats in the United States House of Representatives. The Ohio Apportionment Board draws state legislative district lines.Senate Ukraine Caucus
The Senate Ukraine Caucus is a bipartisan caucus of the United States Senate that was inaugurated on February 9, 2015 in Washington, D.C.. Its mission is "to strengthen the political, military, economic, and cultural relationship between the United States and Ukraine."
Its counterpart in the House of Representatives is the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus, which was established in 1997 and consists of 41 representatives.Socialist Party of Ohio
The Socialist Party of Ohio (SPOH) is a socialist political party in the U.S. state of Ohio. Founded in 1901, the SPO was an affiliate of the Socialist Party of America. Since the 1972 renaming of the SPA to Social Democrats, USA, it has been the state chapter of the Socialist Party USA (SPUSA).Susan Schwab
Susan Carol Schwab (born March 23, 1955) is an American politician, who served under President George W. Bush as United States Trade Representative from June, 2006 to January, 2009.
She was nominated to replace Rob Portman as United States Trade Representative in April, 2006, becoming Acting Trade Representative upon Portman's confirmation as director of the Office of Management and Budget. Previously, she served as Deputy United States Trade Representative from 2005 to 2006.Ted Strickland
Theodore Strickland (born August 4, 1941) is an American politician who was the 68th Governor of Ohio, serving from 2007 to 2011. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously served in the United States House of Representatives, representing Ohio's 6th congressional district (1993–1995, 1997–2007).In the 2006 gubernatorial election, Strickland was elected to succeed term-limited Republican incumbent Bob Taft after defeating Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, receiving 60% of the vote. He was narrowly defeated for re-election in the 2010 gubernatorial election by former U.S. Representative John Kasich.In April 2014, Strickland became president of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a progressive public policy research and advocacy organization. Strickland left that position in February 2015, and on February 25, 2015, he announced his intention to run for the United States Senate against incumbent Rob Portman. Strickland won the Democratic nomination, and was then defeated by Portman in the November 2016 general election.United States Congress Joint Economic Committee
The Joint Economic Committee (JEC) is one of four standing joint committees of the U.S. Congress. The committee was established as a part of the Employment Act of 1946, which deemed the committee responsible for reporting the current economic condition of the United States and for making suggestions for improvement to the economy. The JEC is chaired by Senator Mike Lee of Utah.United States Senate Committee on Finance
The United States Senate Committee on Finance (or, less formally, Senate Finance Committee) is a standing committee of the United States Senate. The Committee concerns itself with matters relating to taxation and other revenue measures generally, and those relating to the insular possessions; bonded debt of the United States; customs, collection districts, and ports of entry and delivery; deposit of public moneys; general revenue sharing; health programs under the Social Security Act (notably Medicare and Medicaid) and health programs financed by a specific tax or trust fund; national social security; reciprocal trade agreements; tariff and import quotas, and related matters thereto; and the transportation of dutiable goods. It is considered to be one of the most powerful committees in Congress.United States Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation
The Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation is one of seven subcommittees of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.