Retired neurosurgeon and likely presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson this weekend endorsed Ohio Sen. Rob Portman's re-election campaign against likely Democratic challenger Ted Strickland.
"I want to see Rob Portman re-elected to the U.S. Senate and encourage Ohio voters to join his campaign and keep the Senate in Republican control," said Carson, a spokesman at the Republican Party of Cuyahoga County's annual Lincoln Day Dinner on Saturday night in Cleveland, according to a party press release.
Carson plans an announcement on May 4 in Detroit about his presidential campaign, notes a press release from the Cuyahoga County group.
Portman has been in the Senate since 2011. Before that, he served briefly in the White House under President George W. Bush before entering the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served six consecutive terms. He resigned to serve as U.S. trade representative from May 2005 to May 2006.
In March, Barry Bennett, a longtime adviser of Portman's, was named to head Carson's presidential exploratory committee, reports The Columbus Dispatch.
Portman could face a tough campaign against Strickland, should the former Ohio governor and representative get the Democratic nomination. Strickland nabbed a key endorsement late last month from former President Bill Clinton, reports The Washington Post.
The Ohio race is being seen as vital for control of the Senate, the Post noted. Democrats need just four seats to retake the Senate majority in 2016, or five if a Republican becomes president, and "purple" states like Ohio, New Hampshire, and Florida are being contested.
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