Republican infighting opens the door for Democrats to pick up Ohio Senate seat: report
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (screengrab)

Republican hopes of reclaiming control on the Senate is being imperiled by a battle among Ohio Republicans over who will be the nominee to that will run for the seat that is being vacated by Sen. Rob Portman (R).

The Senate is currently deadlocked at 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans -- with Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaking vote -- every seat up for grabs in 2022 is now more important than ever with Democrats also holding the House and the White House.

That will make Ohio the center of attention, reports the New York Times.

According to the report, Democrats in the state are optimistic in part because Republicans in the state are not sure which direction to turn in a post-Donald Trump era that saw now-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) lose his grip on power.

"Had Mr. Portman run for re-election, this would have been a far less weighty question in Ohio. He and Gov. Mike DeWine, another establishment-aligned and well-known incumbent, would have campaigned on their own political brands, never confronting Mr. Trump but also never embracing him, either," the report states adding that one of the leading contenders is already closely allied with Trump.

"Josh Mandel, a former state treasurer who twice ran against Mr. Brown before withdrawing from the 2018 race and disappearing from public view, has resurfaced as an ardent MAGA man," the report continues, explaining that may set up a battle with another Trump loyalist, Jane Timken, who would have received an endorsement from Trump already until his aides intervened.

Those two candidates have some Ohio Republicans worried as they watch the suburbs turn increasingly Democratic, which could open the door for the eventual Democratic nominee as the two leading Republican contenders try to out-embrace Trump in their battle for the nomination.

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