This story has been updated to include quotes from the Ohio University College Republicans and Rob Portman’s victory speech.
Sen. Rob Portman, the Republican incumbent, reclaimed his seat in the U.S. Senate after dominating the election Tuesday against former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland.
Portman took 82 counties out of the 88 counties in Ohio to win his spot in the Senate for the second time as of 9:20 p.m. The Republican candidate from Cincinnati held a comfortable lead in the polls months before the election. Portman edged out Strickland with 58.30 percent of the popular vote as of 9:20 p.m.
The race was called minutes after Ohio polls closed at 7:30 p.m.
“He’s done a good job, especially in this area and at least throughout the state of Ohio,” Ryan Evans, the vice president of Ohio University College Republicans, said. “Senator Portman has really resonated and I think that’s why he was re-elected.”
Portman, who won his first Senate race against Democratic Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher in 2010 by an 18-point margin, has been vocal on his stances to repeal the Affordable Care Act, reduce taxes and protect the Second Amendment.
Despite partisan differences, Portman has worked closely with Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, who is up for re-election in 2018. The two have teamed up on issues such as attempting to penalize foreign steelmakers accused of dumping waste illegally in the United States.
"In different ways, and clearly in both parties, so many people feel that things have gone wrong for our great country,” Portman said in his victory speech at The Vault in Columbus. “And whatever else might divide them, we can be absolutely certain of this: With a new president and a new Congress, Americans don’t want to just rewind the tape and live through more years of the same tired and self-defeating routine.”
In Athens County, a spot that Strickland was favored to win, Portman received 35.21 percent of the vote as of 9:20 p.m. He made several stops in the county while campaigning this year and during his first term. Strickland, on the other hand, won 59.24 percent of votes in Athens County.
“Tonight’s results are not what I hoped for, but I am so grateful to those who have worked so hard to support our efforts,” Ted Strickland said in a news release. “I called Senator Portman to congratulate him and I wish him well in representing the people of Ohio in the Senate.”