Portman calls for unity after fractious election



Ohio’s bellwether status secure, its leaders of both parties were reeling Wednesday over what a Donald Trump presidency would mean to the future.

“We got hit by a tsunami,” said Ohio Democratic Chairman David Pepper, whose party lost the White House, a once seemingly winnable U.S. Senate race and additional ground in both state legislative chambers in Tuesday’s election.

Pepper said the election results were “much bigger than politics” and his party’s focus needed to be on standing up those groups that Trump insulted during the campaign.

“Forgetting politics, our job is to do everything we can to stand up and support people who are questioning their place in this country,” he said. “My hope is there will be a unified bipartisan wall to stop some of the stuff that Trump said he would do if elected.”

Trump topped Democrat Hillary Clinton in the state by more than 8.5 percentage points, according to final unofficial results, winning all but seven of 88 counties — from farm country to Appalachia to union-heavy, blue-collar areas. Third-party challengers captured less than 3 percent of the vote combined.

Supporters of Republican Gov. John Kasich, who resisted supporting or voting for Trump, also were weighing what the New York billionaire’s surprise national win would mean for them going forward.

Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, who withdrew support for Trump after release of a startling video toward the end of the campaign, held a news conference Wednesday to discuss the future.

Portman easily defeated Democratic challenger Ted Strickland, the former Ohio governor, and returns to an even stronger Senate majority in Washington.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman is calling on Ohioans of all political persuasions to come together after the contentious presidential election to work for the country’s betterment.

Portman told reporters Wednesday that he doesn’t believe his decision late in the race to withdraw support from Republican Donald Trump will hurt his relationship with the president-elect.

The Cincinnati Republican also says he doesn’t see Gov. John Kasich’s (KAY’-sikz) opposition to Trump hurting Ohio’s standing in Washington.

Portman says he anticipates tax reform, infrastructure improvements and a rewrite of the Affordable Care Act to be priorities of the Republican-controlled Senate under Trump.

Asked if he supports building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico as Trump has advocated, Portman said immigration reform is needed but the form it will take is unclear.