Sen. Rob Portman is being urged to form a presidential exploratory committee as the first step in running for the White House in 2016, but the Ohio Republican will not make a decision until after the November elections.
An exploratory committee would allow Portman to raise money to pay for travel and other expenses to states such as New Hampshire and Iowa, which will hold the first presidential contests of 2016.
Although Portman and his aides say he is focused on running for re-election in 2016, the first-term senator has long had ambitions for national office.
Portman campaigned in New Hampshire on Tuesday on behalf of Republican Scott Brown, who is challenging Sen. Jean Shaheen, D-N.H. But Portman also made a separate appearance earlier in the day in Manchester, N.H., fueling intense speculation that he plans to run for president.
Although a source close to Portman stressed that the senator has not officially decided to run for the White House or even form an exploratory committee, forming one is the first major move made by presidential candidates in both parties.
Portman also is a regular on cable-TV shows and is the chief fundraiser for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. If Republicans seize control of the Senate in November, Portman will receive much of the credit because of the millions of dollars he has raised on behalf of GOP candidates.
By Jack Torry - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
©2014 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)
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