Acton Declines Bid for U.S. Senate Seat

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Dr. Amy Acton, former director of the Ohio Department of Health and former medical adviser to Gov. Mike DeWine, confirmed Tuesday afternoon she would not run for U.S. Senate.

Since Acton stepped down from her position at the Columbus Foundation in February, speculation has surrounded a potential bid by the Youngstown native for the seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. It was a “tremendous honor to be asked to consider a run” for Senate, which she gave her “most thoughtful and deliberate consideration,” Acton said in a news release.

“Like many of you, I have a profound reverence for the office, and for those who have answered the calling to public service,” she said. “Please know I am deeply grateful for the outpouring of support from my fellow Ohioans, and from across the country. I especially wish to express my heartfelt appreciation to all who have worked quietly behind the scenes to help me consider this path.”

Advocates of an Acton bid for Senate included 314 Action Group, an organization that aims to get more scientists and people in related fields elected to public office. The group mounted an online campaign urging her to run, released polling indicating her strength in a potential race, and last week pledged $5 million to support her in the Democratic primary.

Though she is not running for Senate, Acton said she recognized “a genuine longing for a fresh approach to leadership that is honest, collaborative, and empowering,” and she called on Ohioans to accept nothing less from elected officials.

“Yet this moment in history calls on all of us, regardless of our politics, to address the pressing issues facing our families and communities. In the wake of the economic, racial, and health crises of 2020, what is at stake is nothing less than the heart and soul of our country,” she said.

“I know many of us are tired of the vitriol and hate. We are weary from the battle. No one has gone untouched and much has been exposed and revealed. Yet as we cautiously re-emerge this spring, we dare to hope that a new way is possible,” she added. “What happens next isn’t the sole province of our elected officials. It is up to all of us. We must co-create an Ohio that ensures the enduring cultural values of kindness and justice for all.”

Acton also said she was taking “a step back from public life to carefully consider my next chapter, and how, together, we can bring healing and hope to those in need.”

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13 Ohio, who also is considering a run for the seat, praised Acton as “a dedicated public servant” who served Ohio honorably.

“I wish her the best of luck in her next endeavor which I’m sure will continue her legacy of kindness and justice for all Ohioans,” he continued.

Last week, Ryan announced his fundraising operation had collected $1.2 million.

Acton’s announcement came the same day as a new name emerged in the Republican field of candidates, Cleveland businessman Bernie Moreno.

“I came from a country surrounded by the ideology of radicals like Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, who promised to give everyone all they needed and solve all their problems — just like Bernie Sanders and AOC are doing today,” he said in a news release quoting his announcement video. “If we’re going to protect this country from the socialist left, and keep this precious idea built on the concept of freedom, then we need outsiders who back up their words with action.”

In his release, Moreno pledge not to take money from corporate political action committees, support term limits, crack down on China, protect the “victories” of former President Donald Trump and “fight back against cancel culture’s attempts to silence conservatives.”

Candidates also considering or having announced bids on the Republican side include Jane Timken, former Ohio Republican party chairwoman, and Josh Mandel, former state treasurer.

Pictured: In this file photo, Dr. Amy Acton address Ohioans on the coronavirus pandemic during in March 2020.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.