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Former Ohio health director won’t run for Senate

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Amy Acton, the former director of the Ohio Department of Health, announced on Wednesday that she will not run for retiring Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-Ohio) seat next year. 

“It has been a tremendous honor to be asked to consider a run for the U.S. Senate,” Acton said in a statement. “Like many of you, I have a profound reverence for the office, and for those who have answered the calling to public service. As such, I have given it my most thoughtful and deliberate consideration.”

“While I am not entering the race for U.S. Senate, I recognize there is a genuine longing for a fresh approach to leadership that is honest, collaborative, and empowering,” she added. “Ohioans — do not accept anything less from your elected officials. Our leaders’ words and actions matter. We must set the bar higher.”

Acton’s decision to forgo a Senate campaign whittles down the field of potential Democratic challengers for Portman’s seat in 2022. On Monday, Danny O’Connor, a county recorder and former House candidate, announced that he would not run for Senate next year and would instead mount another bid for the House.

No Democrat has formally jumped into the race yet, though Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) is expected to run, as is state House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes. 

The Republican field, on the other hand, has grown increasingly crowded. It now includes former Ohio state Treasurer Josh Mandel, former state GOP chair Jane Timken and, as of Tuesday, businessman Bernie Moreno. Other potential candidates include investment banker Mike Gibbons and Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio). 

Portman announced his retirement in January, adding his name to a growing list of Republican senators who have decided to forgo reelection bids in 2022. 

And while Ohio has drifted to the right in recent years — former President Trump carried the state twice — Democrats are hoping to replicate the success of Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), the last remaining Democrat serving in statewide elected office. He won reelection in 2018, even as his party lost Ohio’s gubernatorial race.

Tags 2022 2022 midterms Amy Acton Democratic primary Donald Trump Ohio Ohio politics Ohio Senate Race Rob Portman Sherrod Brown Steve Stivers Tim Ryan

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