GOP Senate Race in Ohio Becomes Test of Who Is Biggest Trump Fan

Former Ohio Republican Party chairwoman Jane Timken announced she’s running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Rob Portman in 2022, setting up a GOP primary fight for who would be the biggest promoter of former President Donald Trump’s agenda.

Timken, 54, whose husband, Tim Timken, is the former chief executive officer of TimkenSteel in Ohio, announced her candidacy Thursday with a video promising that “as your senator, I will advance the Trump agenda without fear or hesitation.”

Former State Treasurer Josh Mandel, another Republican, announced his candidacy last week also vowing to “fight for President Trump’s America First Agenda.” Mandel cited Trump’s impeachment as the reason to run in a state that voted twice for Trump by about eight percentage points.

The impending GOP primary comes after Trump issued a statement on Tuesday excoriating Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and vowing to back primary challengers to Republicans loyal to McConnell. That came after McConnell gave a blistering speech blaming Trump for the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in a growing GOP civil war over the direction of the party ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

GOP Senate Race in Ohio Becomes Test of Who Is Biggest Trump Fan

Timken has said she was Trump’s pick to take over the Ohio Republican Party in 2017 and boasted in her video that she unified the party, “cleaned house” of supporters of former Ohio Governor John Kasich -- who ran for president in 2016 and became a Trump critic -- and helped deliver a second Trump victory in the state in 2020.

“I’m running for the United States senate to stand up for you, just like when I stood next to President Trump and supported his America First agenda,” Timken said in the video.

Other Republicans are also weighing a run for the open seat, including businessman Mike Gibbons, who sent a letter to state GOP leaders Wednesday asking them not to endorse a candidate in the race and let party voters decide.

Portman announced last month he won’t run for re-election in 2022, saying the country has become “increasingly polarized” over the past few decades, making it more difficult to find common ground.

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