But there's new speculation in these parts now that President Bush has decided to nominate Portman for Senate approval as US trade representative.
The procedures that will be set off once Portman is confirmed (it's considered a slam dunk), are particularly susceptible to such speculating. As I understand it, a non-partisan special election will happen. The two top vote-getters in that election will then run off against each other to decide who will serve out Portman's unexpired term.
This district is so prohibitively Republican I believe that even if seven or eight Republicans and only one Democrat run in the initial election, the top two vote-recipients will still likely be from the GOP.
The district is composed of a chunk of Hamilton County (Cincinnati) and several other southwestern Ohio counties.
The two names being most commonly mentioned seem to be:
Hamilton County commissioner and former Cincinnati City Council member Phil Heimlich. I've only met Heimlich once, but I hear good things about him.Others are looking at the run. But I believe that these are the two most credible candidates with the best chances to run credible campaigns. As always, I must add the caveat that I am a notoriously poor prognosticator. (You should see my NCAA brackets!)
Former State Senate President Doug White. People I respect a lot are backing him and urging him to make the run.
It will be really interesting to see how this campaign unfolds.