He graduated from Colerain High School in 1976, and graduated from Oberlin College with a political science degree in 1980. He graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Law in 1983 and became an attorney in Cincinnati.
Portune is regarded as left of center on social issues, and a fiscal conservative. Portune was appointed to fill a vacancy on the city council in 1993. He served on the city council from 1993 to 2000.
In 2000 Portune was elected as a Hamilton County Commissioner.
The city of Cincinnati has voted solidly for Democratic candidates in the early 21st Century. The suburbs have supported the Republicans.
Portune was the first Democratic commissioner elected from the suburbs in 36 years. In 2004 Portune was re-elected, with 57% to his opponent"s 42%.
His winning in a conservative county was attributed to his moderate policies, and to effective campaigning.
The Cincinnati Enquirer and The Cincinnati Post newspapers endorsed him. In December, 2013 Portune announced that he was considering becoming be a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Governor in the 2014 elections. Portune visited several locations in Ohio during December, 2013 and January, 2014, visiting voters and gauging the support he could expect if he formalized his candidacy.
In mid-January, Portune indicated that a decision was imminent.
In late January news reports indicated that Portune had discussed with former Toledo Mayor Jack Ford the possibility of becoming Portune"s Lieutenant Governor running mate. On January 31 he announced that he would not be a candidate, making the decision just days before the early February deadline to file nominating petitions to qualify for a place on the primary election ballot.
Cincinnati, Ohio State and American Bar Associations. The Association of Trial Lawyers of America. Hamilton County Trial Lawyers Association.