CBS and MSNBC are projecting that Rob Portman will win the race for U.S. Senate in Ohio, a major lift for a Republican who was initially expected to be one of the most endangered senators in the cycle.
Since the beginning, Portman took his race against Democratic former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland seriously, building an extensive ground game independent of the presidential campaign and aggressively fundraising. By mid-summer, Portman was leading his opponent by double digits as his Republican colleagues in other tight Senate races struggled to escape Trump’s shadow.
TPM’s PollTracker had Portman leading Strickland by 18.3 points, a remarkable spread in a state President Barack Obama won in 2012.
Portman endured a long, hot summer of Trump’s rhetoric, all the while sticking by the Republican nominee as Trump attacked a Muslim Gold Star Family and doubled down on his restrictionist immigration policies. However, Portman was among those Republicans in October who cut ties with Trump after audio surfaced of Trump bragging about forcing himself on women he was attracted to.
“While I continue to respect those who still support Donald Trump, I can no longer support him,” Portman said in a statement “I continue to believe our country cannot afford a Hillary Clinton presidency. I will be voting for Mike Pence for President.”
It appears that didn’t cost Portman a thing.