Ohio Democrat says he will challenge GOP’s Portman

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A veteran Democratic state lawmaker is vowing to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio in 2016 because of Portman’s opposition to background checks for gun buyers.

Rep. Robert Hagan, of Youngstown, says a Facebook post Wednesday announcing the run was sincere. It followed Portman’s vote against a bipartisan bill that would have expanded the checks.

Hagan said Portman is out of touch with Ohio voters, citing a Quinnipiac (KWIHN’-uh-pee-ak) University poll released Friday showing 84 percent of Ohio voters support the checks. That included majorities across party, gender and racial lines.

Portman said in a call with reporters this week that the vote was based on principle, not politics.

The 64-year-old Hagan retires from a 26-year career in the state Legislature next year due to term limits.

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