COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio's junior senator is endorsing Republican state treasurer Josh Mandel in the 2012 race for U.S. Senate.
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman says in a statement released by Mandel on Tuesday said that he would provide the necessary focus on jobs and the economy. Portman says he has helped Mandel and will continue to do so.
Mandel faces former state Sen. Kevin Coughlin. So far, Coughlin is the only announced candidate in a GOP primary that will decide who faces incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown.
Last week, former Ohio secretary of state Ken Blackwell urged U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, a fellow conservative, to join the contest.
Democrats criticize Mandel's Senate bid. They say he promised to serve four full years as treasurer. He took office in January.