Sen. Portman doesn’t expect a call from Romney


By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman said he doesn’t “expect” Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, to ask him to be his vice-presidential running mate.

“It’s not something I’m looking to do,” Portman said on a Thursday conference call. “I’ve got my hands full” in the Senate.

The buzz about Portman as a potential running mate has picked up lately among national pundits and political insiders.

But Portman said he’s “happy where I am,” and he “can be very helpful” to Romney serving as a senator.

When asked Thursday by The Vindicator if Romney could become president without winning Ohio, Portman said it’s possible. But, he added, a win in Ohio “would certainly help” Romney’s chance of beating President Barack Obama, a Democrat, in the November general election.

“There’s a way to put it together without Ohio, but it makes it” more difficult for Romney to win the presidency, Portman said.

There are about 10 key states that will decide the election, Portman said. Florida may be more important than Ohio among those competitive states because it has more electoral votes, he added.

The race between Romney and Obama in Ohio will “be close,” but Portman said his fellow Republican is “likely” to win the state in November.

“We’re a classic purple state,” Portman said about Ohio because it’s divided among Democrats and Republicans.

Portman serves as Romney’s Ohio campaign chairman and campaigned with the former Massachusetts governor before the state’s March 6 primary. Romney beat ex-U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who has since suspended his presidential bid, in a close race in Ohio’s Republican primary last month.

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