Yesterday Rob Portman was in Toledo at Tony Packo's to announce his candidacy for the senate seat currently held by George Voinovich. Voinovich has decided to retire and will not be seeking re-election.
Because of the extremely bad road conditions due to the weather, he was about 15 minutes late in his arrival, but was greeted by a crowd of about 35 - a good number considering the travel conditions.
Upon arrival, he participated in a Tony Packo's tradition of signing a hot dog bun for display.
Because of the weather and hot dog signing, he got a late start on his comments which meant that I was not able to hear his entire presentation. What I did hear was his emphasis on his small business experience and his understanding of what it's like to be a small business owner in Ohio.
When I was little, my parents would take a weekend in November and meet up with friends from Tennessee for a weekend at the Golden Lamb Inn in Lebanon, Ohio. My siblings and I always looked forward to their return because they would bring us a gift of a Christmas ornament. When I moved out of the house, my mother packaged up all the ornaments she'd given me over the years and I still have all but a few of them to decorate my tree. My husband has continued the tradition of giving me a new ornament each year.
If you're wondering why this has anything to do with Portman, it's because I learned, during his kick off, that his family started the Golden Lamb Inn and he and his siblings still own/run it today.
End Side Note
Portman's early entry in the race is clearly designed to discourage others from running and avoiding a primary battle for the seat.
He served Ohio as Congressman for the seven counties of the Second District for 12 years, held two Cabinet-level positions (U.S. Trade Representative and Director of the Office of Management and Budget), and was on the White House staff of the first Bush Administration. He is currently an attorney with Squire, Sanders, and Dempsey.
Portman was well-liked by almost everyone in Washington. A New York Times reporter wrote in 2003 that he couldn't find a single Democrat on Capitol Hill who would say anything unfavorable about the congressman. The closest he came, he said, was an anonymous member of the Ways & Means Committee who whispered that Portman was, despite his nice-guy image, really a conservative.