Wednesday, January 27, 2021


At first glance, this seems promising:
Some Democrats are looking to a political outsider described as the "Dr. Fauci of Ohio" to replace Rob Portman in the U.S. Senate.

... Amy Acton, former director of the Ohio Department of Health, gained a grassroots following last year when she briefed Ohioans about the state of the coronavirus. Her celebrity could help in a Republican state, and against potential GOP rivals such as Rep. Jim Jordan.

... Acton quickly became an unlikely icon to Ohioans, praised for her poise and compassion during one of the most distressing times for the country.

Something she said at one of her daily public health updates — "I am not afraid; I am determined." — was emblazoned on T-shirts.

Fans launched a "Dr. Amy Acton Fan Club" on Facebook, and it's since attracted over 124,000 people — twice the size of Acton's hometown of Youngstown.
Acton won praise during the early months of the pandemic, as a November New Yorker profile notes:
A singer performed an Amy Acton tribute song on YouTube (“I trust you completely”; “You look so fine in your long white coat.”) The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum unveiled an Amy Acton figure. Little girls dressed up like Acton and staged living-room press conferences.... In a poll, in March, [Acton] had a much higher favorability rating than Trump—sixty-four per cent.
But despite support from Ohio's Republican governor, Mike DeWine, Acton resigned after only a few months of the pandemic -- with good reason.
An “Anti Amy Acton” page appeared on Facebook, containing such posts as “We will always hate you Abortion Amy!!” (The Ohio health department oversees clinics that perform abortions.) She was called a “witch,” a “disgrace.” In one photo, the marquee at Phil’s Lounge & Beer Garden, in Sharonville, said, “Fuck you DeSwine and Hackton.” Protesters disrupted Acton’s press conferences by chanting outside the statehouse and pressing their faces against the windows. After Acton, who is Jewish, mentioned hosting a virtual seder, for Passover, protesters showed up at her home, with guns, wearing MAGA caps and carrying “TRUMP” flags. Their signs read “Dr. Amy Over-re-ACTON” and “Let Freedom Work.” They brought their children. DeWine told demonstrators, “I’m the elected official” and “Come after me.” Acton was assigned executive protection—a rare measure, for a public-health official—along with a retinue of state troopers.
In April, the wife of a Republican state senator played the Hitler card in response to a public statement by Acton:

A couple of weeks later, a Republican state legislator called her a "globalist":

In addition, the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue didn't like the fact that Acton had permitted an abortion clinic near Dayton to remain open after it had been ordered closed by a previous state health director, describing Acton's decision as a “duplicitous paperwork shuffle.” (In fact, the clinic had come into compliance with a law requiring backup physicians for emergencies.) So OR went low -- it challenged Acton's accounts of her own childhood, then claimed credit for driving her out of office.
Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton resigned suddenly today, citing inability to cope with the overload of work the job required....

This came a week after Operation Rescue called for her resignation after publishing an exposé that included information on her Ohio medical license application that indicated she had been treated for mental illness and/or addiction issues at some point in the past.

That exposé also included audio clips from Operation Rescue’s interview with Donna Arthur, Acton’s estranged mother.

Arthur claimed that her daughter falsely accused her second husband of raping her when she was 12 years old. Acton had publicly claimed that both Arthur and her husband were criminally charged with abusing her, but “skipped town” before they could be prosecuted.

However, Operation Rescue verified that Arthur had never been charged and that her step father had charges dismissed. Acton then went to live with her father after she had made the allegations and never saw her mother again.

Arthur also refuted the allegation as untrue that Acton was homeless, neglected, and hungry as a child – something that Acton has repeatedly claimed.
The race will be nasty if Acton is the Democratic candidate -- especially if her Republican opponent is Jim Jordan. But I worry less about Jordan than I do about the militants who opposed Acton and her state's public health response when she was in office.

Even if the pandemic is effectively over by 2022, this will resurface.

If Acton runs, she's brave. But it will be a vicious campaign.

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