The Plain Dealer's editorial board on Wednesday urged Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who announced last year he will retire when his term ends, to reconsider and run for reelection this coming November, because "we need to find that common American ground again."
"Otherwise, the ugliness that is the Republican primary for your seat will continue its cavalcade of intemperate, cruel, ill-judged, narrow-minded and explosive rhetoric designed to divide not unite," the editorial read. "Otherwise, the majority of candidates from your party will continue to spew their lies about the 2020 election, lies that don't just bust apart hopes to rebuild any consensus in America, but also that continue to shred the very heart and soul of the traditional conservative Republican Party values you have served so ably over your long career of public service."
The editorial board added a concern a Republican with "extremist rhetoric" might win an election, stressing Portman's candidacy "would be the leavening agent this race, this state, this nation needs."
"Otherwise, we're hurtling toward two possible outcomes in the Senate race, either one of which we know will pain you deeply: a Republican nominee and senator who wins through lies and fealty to a lie, or a Democratic senator who wins primarily because the Republican nominee so alienates average Ohioans with toxic, extremist rhetoric," the editorial continued.
Even The Plain Dealer admitted it would not 100% support Portman, but it did endorse him in 2016, while endorsing Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, for the other Senate seat in 2018.
"Our editorial board has not exactly been 100% in favor of some of what you stand for, or what you sat down for during the Trump years," it wrote. "Yet that's what governing and compromise are about. We don't always agree, but we respect each other's opinions and work toward consensus," adding, "consensus and compromise define you."
The editorial concluded by telling Portman, "you hold in your hands the power to shake things up, to change the course of this campaign, to right the GOP vessel not just in Ohio but nationally."
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