Former Ohio GOP chair makes pitch to be party’s U.S. Senate nominee

HAMILTON — Former Ohio GOP chairwoman Jane Timken isn’t afraid of any political fight, especially the one she’s in now with six other Republicans seeking the state’s open U.S. Senate seat.

Timken is trailing in the latest public polling in seeking the Republican Party’s nomination in the May 3 primary election. Seven Republicans, three Democrats, and a handful of independents and third-party candidates.

Her rugby-playing days at Harvard University, in a way, have prepared her for this campaign as it isn’t far from the current political atmosphere.

“I like to say it’s no pads, no helmets, and lots of mud, just like politics these days,” Timken said Thursday to the attendees at a small meet-and-greet at Basil 1791 in downtown Hamilton. “I can take the hits and I can also give the hits, and I think it’s time we have somebody prepared to tackle some of the Democrats and (President) Joe Biden in office.”

Democrats control the legislative and executive branches, and Republicans hope they can flip both chambers in Congress. The U.S. Senate is split 50/50 with the Democrats controlling the chamber with Vice President Kamala Harris being the tie-breaking vote.

The others seeking the GOP U.S. Senate nomination include Ohio Sen. Matt Dolan, Mike Gibbons, former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, Neil Patel, Mark Pukita, and author J.D. Vance. Polls show Mandel is leading this race, but has not been successful in the general election the past two times he sought Brown’s U.S. Senate seat. He lost in 2012 and withdrew from the race in 2018.

On the Democratic Party side, Congressman Tim Ryan leads the polling over his opponents Morgan Harper and Traci Johnson.

Republicans hope to retain this U.S. Senate seat currently held by Portman.

The GOP candidates are all jockeying for former President Donald Trump’s endorsement. He has not made one, though he has not made an endorsement in this crowded race. All the GOP candidates are touting their Trump credentials until the former president makes a decision.

Timken said she was in the political trenches supporting Trump in 2016 as then-vice chair of the Stark County Republican Party and was vocal when the Ohio GOP, at the time, was “publicly pulling away from our nominee.”

”I’m the person that steps up and pushes back when I see something wrong,” said Timken. “That party was broken and controlled by a corrupt chairman who is now under indictment, and I’m proud of my leadership of the Ohio Republican Party because when I walked through the door, we couldn’t even make payroll. We were millions of dollars in debt and it was a party being run for one person only, and not every other Republican candidate across the state.”

Butler County Democratic Party Executive Chairman Brian Hester the only GOP female senatorial candidate is “pretending” she’s been a Trump supporter from the beginning.

“Ohioans can spot a political phony like Jane Timken from a mile away and will see straight through her pitiful attempt to do or say anything to try to keep her sinking campaign afloat,” said Hester. “She touts Portman’s endorsement though she opposes his biggest career legislative achievement: the bipartisan infrastructure bill that will upgrade our transportation and information infrastructure to make us more competitive to China.”

In August, Timken, and all of the Republican Senate candidates in this race, opposed the bill that Portman helped broker.

But Timken said she will work with U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Cleveland, as long as any piece of legislation is best for Ohio and the country.

“I will always be motivated by what’s best for the people of Ohio. If I can work with Sherrod Brown to get things done and make Ohio lives better, I will do it. But I will not compromise my principles and I will not play loosely with the football like too many Republicans in Congress have been doing.”

If elected, Timken said she will bring a long list of things she’ll want to tackle.

“It’s hard to say just one thing because we have so many problems right now,” she said.

But when pressed on the first item on her list, she said it would be controlling spending and “reassert government oversight” on the country’s checkbook.

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