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Dr. Amy Acton rules out US Senate run

Liberty native declines to give reason as another pro-Trump candidate enters GOP race

AP Then-Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton gives an update on the state’s preparedness and education efforts to limit the potential spread of COVID-19 at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland on Feb. 27, 2020, as Gov. Mike DeWine listens. Liberty native Acton on Tuesday announced her decision not to run for the U.S. Senate in 2022.

Dr. Amy Acton, who gained statewide prominence as the Ohio Department of Health’s director during first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, has decided not to run for the U.S. Senate in 2022.

In a Tuesday statement, Acton, who used to live in Liberty, said: “It has been a tremendous honor to be asked to consider a run for the U.S. Senate. 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.”

She didn’t provide a reason for not running, but said: “I recognize there is a genuine longing for a fresh approach to leadership that is honest, collaborative and empowering. Ohioans — do not accept anything less from your elected officials. Our leaders’ words and actions matter. We must set the bar higher.”

Acton is a 1984 Liberty High School graduate who spent two years at Youngstown State University before going to Northeastern Ohio University College of Medicine.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland, is expected to declare his candidacy for the Senate seat later this month, several sources close to him have said.

Ryan said last week that he had raised more than $1.2 million in the first quarter of the year. That is more than twice as much money as he ever has raised in a quarter in his 18-plus years in Congress. Ryan also had more than $1 million in his campaign account.

“Dr. Acton is a dedicated public servant who has served Ohio honorably,” Ryan said in a prepared statement. “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.”

Acton stepped down in February from a position with the Columbus Foundation to explore a Senate bid. That came less than six months after she joined the foundation.

Before that, she served as ODH director, becoming a well-known figure in the state through then-daily news conferences with Gov. Mike DeWine about the COVID-19 pandemic. She resigned in June as DeWine started to loosen some restrictions because of the virus and became his chief adviser on health issues. She left that job after two months.

Acton had faced scrutiny from some, including protests outside her home, over decisions made by her and DeWine during the pandemic.

The 314 Action Fund, a Democratic political action committee that recruits candidates with science and technology backgrounds, announced a little over a week ago it would spend up to $5 million to support Acton in the primary.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Terrace Park, said in January he wouldn’t seek a third six-year term in the Senate next year.

Three Republicans have said they’re running to succeed Portman, including Bernie Moreno, a Cleveland businessman who announced Tuesday he is a candidate.

Moreno, a first-time candidate, said he’s “running to stop the socialist agenda, protect the gains made by President Donald J. Trump and protect the American Dream.”

The other declared candidates are Jane Timken, a former state Republican Party chairwoman, and Josh Mandel, a former two-time state treasurer.

Timken said Monday she had raised $2.1 million in the first six weeks of her campaign.

Mandel’s campaign said last week it had raised $1.3 million in the previous seven weeks. Mandel had $4.36 million in his federal campaign as of Dec. 31, left from a failed 2012 Senate campaign and after raising money and getting out of a 2018 Senate race.

Several other Republicans are looking at a potential run for the Senate seat.

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