Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman is exploring a presidential run, two reports said Thursday.
The Columbus Dispatch
said the freshman lawmaker is being urged to form a presidential exploratory committee so he can raise money to pay for travel and expenses, including to early presidential contest states like New Hampshire and Iowa.
Portman campaigned Tuesday in New Hampshire, although it was on behalf of Republican Scott Brown in his challenge of incumbent Democratic Sen. Jean Shaheen.
But a separate appearance in Manchester set off a wave of speculation about his presidential aspirations, the Dispatch reported.
reported that Portman hasn't made any final decision, but that his political confidantes have talked about what steps he'd need to take if he does go all-in for a presidential run.
Portman has raised $5 million for his Senate re-election in 2016, the news site reported – money that could shift to an exploratory presidential committee.
"I’m not particularly eager to do it myself, and having been involved in six presidential campaigns, I know what it’s like," Portman said last month.
"But if nobody running is able to win and willing to address these issues, then I might have a change of heart."
Portman is the chief fundraiser for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and if the GOP takes control of the Senate in November, he'll get some credit for the millions raised for GOP candidates, the Dispatch notes.
He's also got Mitt Romney in his corner.
"Rob has demonstrated a kind of practicality that is appealing," the 2012 GOP presidential nominee told The Washington Post
"There is a stream in my party that is anxious to fight but not as concerned with winning, and I think that’s the minority stream. I don’t think that kind of Republican is going to be the nominee. I believe the nominee will be a mainstream, practical Republican."
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