Former Ohio state health director reportedly considering Senate bid
Amy Acton, the former director of the Ohio Department of Health who was responsible for leading the state’s early response to the coronavirus outbreak, is reportedly considering a run for U.S. Senate.
Acton resigned from her position as head of the Ohio Department of Health last June, soon after Gov. Mike DeWine’s (R) decision to loosen coronavirus restrictions, Cleveland.com noted. Acton later served as an adviser to DeWine before stepping down in August.
Four Democratic sources close to the matter told Cleveland.com that high-level discussions have begun to take place regarding an Acton Senate campaign. The decision is reportedly not related to Portman’s move to retire.
“She’s a political novice. She has a history of heroic action, reaching across the aisle and she has the perfect profile for today’s political climate,” one Ohio Democratic consultant told the outlet. “She is a problem-solving woman, Democrat, who worked for a Republican governor.”
Sources highlighted her high approval ratings, noting that they were above 60 percent while she served as state health director — higher than most public officials.
Acton was lauded for her work during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic in Ohio, often joining DeWine during his daily press briefings. Her frank manner and her advocacy for mitigation measures earned her praise and popularity in the public.
However, she also drew scrutiny early on in the pandemic for saying that 100,000 people in the state were infected with the coronavirus. She later said she was “guesstimating.” Some members of the GOP-controlled state legislature also criticized her and some protesters picketed her home in anger over coronavirus restrictions.
BuzzFeed reported this week that Acton is among several Democrats that progressive activists have courted as potential Senate candidates in Ohio.
“Part of what makes her interesting is she’s not partisan,” Christopher Celeste, son of former Ohio Gov. Dick Celeste (D), told Cleveland.com. “For Ohio, I think it would be interesting to send someone who doesn’t begin with this ingrained partisan loyalty and who, therefore, may be able to be part of a solution that isn’t just straight down the party line.”