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Doctor's Orders: No Senate Run For Amy Acton

Ohio Department of Health director Amy Acton at a press conference on April 7, 2020.
Office of Gov. Mike DeWine
State Of Ohio
Former Ohio Department of Health director Amy Acton at a press conference on April 7, 2020.

In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss former state Health Department director Amy Acton's decision not to run for Rob Portman's Senate seat. Democratic strategist Antoinette Wilson joins the show.

Acton Quarantines Herself From 2022 Senate Race

Dr. Amy Acton went from a little-known member of the DeWine administration to the much-beloved face of Ohio’s struggle to contain the initial spread of the coronavirus.

She was on our radios and TV screens every day combining harsh details of the mysterious virus with her empathetic tone.

But she was not universally beloved. She was vilified by some conservatives and business owners. When Gov. Mike DeWine decided to roll back restrictions before Acton was ready, she quit rather than issue orders she did not believe in.

The speculation that she might seek statewide office started immediately and exploded when Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) decided not to seek re-election.

Acton quit her job at the Columbus Foundation, hired a PR firm, and received promising pledges of support, but in the end, Acton said no.

That leaves Democrats with exactly zero official candidates for U.S. Senate, while Republicans have three: Jane Timken, Josh Mandel and Bernie Moreno.

There will likely be at least one Democrat running, however. Youngstown-area Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) seems like he might take a shot. He could lose his congressional district in the new congressional map-making process and he’s raising a lot more money than he normally does — $1.2 million in the first three months of this year.

Other potential candidates include former State Treasurer and Franklin County Commissioner Kevin Boyce, and Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes.

Snollygoster Of The Week: Ohio Utilities

They've tried to keep it pretty quiet, but DeWine and lawmakers have repealed the controversial $1 billion bailout for the former First Energy nuclear power plants in northern Ohio. First Energy and its subsidiaries will refund the $26 million already collected.

While a federal corruption case continues into former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and others — alleging a $61 million racketeering scheme to pass HB6 — some other interesting news was recently released by The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. It turns out that First Energy has not paid federal income taxes for the past three years.

Other Ohio utilities are in this club as well. Columbus-based AEP has not paid any federal income taxes since 2017, and Duke Energy, which also powers parts of Ohio, did not pay either.

Not a bad deal for companies that are constantly seeking subsidies from ratepayers and making billions of dollars in profits.

Send questions and comments to snollygoster@wosu.org.

Mike Thompson spends much of his time correcting people who mispronounce the name of his hometown – Worcester, Massachusetts. Mike studied broadcast journalism at Syracuse University when he was not running in circles – as a distance runner on the SU track team.