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Former Ohio health director to 'carefully consider' next steps amid Senate speculation

Former Ohio health director to 'carefully consider' next steps amid Senate speculation
© YouTube/WBNS

Amy Acton, the former director of the Ohio Department of Health, said Thursday she was stepping down from her position at a nonprofit and will “carefully consider” her future amid speculation that she may run for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanHarris casts tiebreaking vote to advance Biden nominee The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - After historic verdict, Chauvin led away in handcuffs How to save the Amazon rainforest MORE (R).

“Many Ohioans have shared with me their concerns and the daily challenges they face. They have expressed a need for a new approach that can help them, and their communities thrive.  I am humbled by the outpouring of interest and support,” Acton, a Democrat, said in a statement. 

“For that reason, I am stepping down from my role at The Columbus Foundation in order to carefully consider how I can best be of service at this crucial time,” she added. “Whatever my decision, I know with absolute certainty I won’t stop working to provide healing and hope to all Ohioans.” 

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Acton gained national prominence for her role in leading Ohio’s early response to the coronavirus outbreak.

She resigned from her position as head of the Ohio Department of Health in June after Gov. Mike DeWineMike DeWineOhio law legalizing concealed knife carry, brass knuckles goes into effect The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - Congress returns; infrastructure takes center stage Biden resists calls to give hard-hit states more vaccines than others MORE (R) eased coronavirus restrictions, though she later served as an advisor to the governor. 

Acton garnered plaudits for her early work on the coronavirus, which is credited with helping fight the spread of the disease at the start of Ohio’s outbreak. Surveys taken at the time showed her with an approval rating at about 60 percent. 

Acton also drew scrutiny when she said 100,000 people in the state were infected with the coronavirus, later explaining that she was "guesstimating."

The Democratic primary field to replace Portman, who is not running for reelection next year, is expected to be crowded. Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanBusinessman Mike Gibbons jumps into GOP Senate race in Ohio Biden's gun control push poses danger for midterms Trump faces test of power with early endorsements MORE (D), whose district is expected to be more competitive for him after redistricting, and several other Democrats are expected to enter the race.

Ohio has been trending toward Republicans. Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownHouse Dems to unveil drug pricing measure ahead of Biden package Ma'Khia Bryant's TikToks go viral as alternative to body cam footage Sherrod Brown: Teenager killed in Columbus police shooting 'should be alive right now' MORE (D), is the only Democrat to hold statewide office.