Danny O'Connor to run for U.S. House, removing another name from candidates for Portman's seat
Democratic Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Connor will not seek outgoing Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman’s seat next year and is planning instead to run for the U.S. House.
Depending on how Ohio ultimately draws its congressional lines, it could be a repeat campaign of O’Connor’s 2018 race against Republican Troy Balderson, when he came within 1,600 votes of winning a special election for former Rep. Pat Tiberi’s seat. O’Connor, who ultimately fell to Balderson in the general election, 51.4%-47.2%, raised more than $8.5 million for that campaign.
“I want to do this because I’m upset with how little representation the people are getting from central Ohio,” he said. “We have a congresswoman (Democrat Joyce Beatty) who is a champion for working families, we have a senator in Sherrod Brown who is a champion for working families, but otherwise, there’s no (representation) for the families that are struggling right now.”
His decision further whittles the list of potential candidates for Portman’s seat. Former state health sirector Amy Acton and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, both Democrats, and former state treasurer Josh Mandel and former state Republican Party chair Jane Timken on the GOP side, among many others, are still considering the race.
O’Connor, 34, was reelected Franklin County Recorder last year and will continue to serve in that post during the coming campaign. He considered Portman’s seat and statewide offices, which also will be on the ballot next year, before shifting his focus to the U.S. House.
“I believe that I can get a lot of good stuff done for the people of central Ohio as a member of the House of Representatives, whether it’s access to paid family leave, whether it’s ensuring that we’re focused on economic growth in this region and higher wages for the people who work hard every single day," he said.
Alaina Shearer, a Liberty Township Democrat who ran against Balderson in 2020, said Friday she plans to run in 2022, too. Shearer said she will reevaluate her campaign in the fall after district lines begin to shake out.
"I also think we can use our campaign to inspire and encourage other party outsiders like myself to run," Shearer wrote in a note to supporters.
The 12th District currently includes all of Delaware, Morrow and Licking counties, plus parts of Franklin, Marion, Richland and Muskingum counties. But Ohio will redraw its congressional map this year using updated population counts, and the state could to lose one of its 16 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
O’Connor, who lives in Columbus' Clintonville neighborhood, supports Beatty, whose district includes parts of Columbus and suburban areas. New district lines otherwise aren’t affecting his decision to run in 2022.
“What impacts my decision making is the fact that there are people in the House of Representatives who voted for a $1.9 trillion tax cut but couldn’t vote to give working families the relief that they needed at literally an unprecedented time in American history,” he said.