Editor's note: the video in the player above is from Jan. 19, 2021.
Nearly seven months after resigning as the director of Ohio’s Department of Health, Dr. Amy Acton is re-entering the public spotlight. On Thursday, Acton confirmed that she will explore a run for the U.S. Senate as a Democratic candidate in Ohio in 2022.
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“I am humbled by the outpouring of interest and support," Acton said in a statement released on Thursday. "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.”
Last week, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announced that he will not seek re-election next year, opening up one of the Buckeye State’s two seats in the U.S. Senate. A potential run for Dr. Acton would bring immediate star power to a Senate race already expected to attract plenty of attention.
“It’s just a wait and see of who’s in and who’s not. This has just opened up a whole world of possibilities for candidates in both political parties," said former 3News Political Correspondent Tom Beres.
“Some democrats look at her and want to rip a page from the playbook of old senator, John Glenn, who went from being a nonelected office holder, but a well known public figure, and parlayed that into a long-running stint as a united states senator," Beres continued. “Things will start to shake out by the end of the year and the campaign will start to heat up by the spring of next year.”
During her time as the Ohio Department of Health Director under Gov. Mike DeWine, Acton became one of the faces of the state's response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Yet despite earning national recognition for her work amid the pandemic, Acton became a polarizing figure in the state, especially among Republicans who felt the state's measures had become too strict.
Last June, Acton stepped down from her position as health director but remained an advisor to DeWine until August. In an interview with The New Yorker, Acton explained that she feared she would be forced to sign orders that would go against her Hippocratic oath to do no harm.
While Acton served under a Republican governor in DeWine, she has previously volunteered on Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign and voted in Democratic primaries. Other Democratic candidates in Ohio who have been linked to a potential 2022 U.S. Senate run include Rep. Tim Ryan and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.