Ohio: Pro-Life Republican Ken Blackwell Mulls Senate Bid

State   |   Andrew Bair   |   Mar 24, 2011   |   12:12PM   |   Columbus, OH

Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, a firm advocate for the right to life, is reportedly mulling a run for Senate in Ohio in 2012.

A recent Public Policy Polling survey showed Blackwell garnering 21% of Ohio primary voters. These positive numbers peaked Blackwell’s interest and he told POLITICO, “I will definitely take a serious look at it. I feel those numbers are worthy of further examination. I believe that constitutional conservatism is on the rebound. I think getting a conservative Republican majority is very important.”

Blackwell would face pro-abortion incumbent Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown in the general election.

Brown is a stalwart abortion advocate, earning a 0% rating from the National Right to Life Committee for his first term in the US Senate. Brown voted for the pro-abortion Obama healthcare law and against the resolution containing pro-life provisions like the Pence Amendment, which de-funds Planned Parenthood.

Blackwell ran unsuccessfully in 2006 for governor of Ohio. Blackwell made history by becoming the first African American nominated for governor by a major party. 2006 was an unfavorable year for Republicans and Blackwell lost to pro-abortion Democrat Ted Strickland by a margin of over 20 points. In 2010, the tides turned against the Democrats and pro-life Republican John Kasich ousted Strickland from office. In addition, Ohio elected pro-life Republican Rob Portman to the US Senate. These two key victories indicate a Republican resurgence in Ohio, despite the fact that Obama carried the state in 2008.

Another potential Republican challenger to Sen. Sherrod Brown is pro-life State Treasurer Josh Mandel, who is expected to make an official announcement of his intention to run in a few weeks.

Some had hoped pro-life Rep. Jim Jordan would consider a Senate run, but Jordan appears to have ruled it out. Rep. Jordan told The Hill, “I’ve got the Republican Study Committee and that’s going to be my focus. The work with RSC, the work I’m going to be doing for Chairman Issa (R-CA) on the Oversight Committee is going to keep me busy.”