A boost for Dr. Amy Acton’s potential US Senate campaign

COLUMBUS — Dr. Amy Acton, the controversial former state health director who led Ohio through the early months of the coronavirus crisis and now is considering a run as a Democrat in next year’s election for the U.S. Senate, has won the support of a multi-million dollar political action group that backs candidates with science backgrounds.

>>RELATED: Dr. Amy Acton leaves nonprofit group to explore run for US Senate

The Washington, D.C.-based organization “314 Action Fund” today announced it would support Acton if she decides to run to replace U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, who announced earlier that he will not seek re-election next year.

It comes just as the same organization launched a new web site “RunAmy.Run” to encourage Acton to seek office. The group says a poll of likely Democratic voters in the Ohio Primary Election next year shows 64 percent of the respondents view Acton favorably.

The same poll showed Acton with a slight lead over another potential Senate candidate, Rep. Tim Ryan of northeast Ohio. The 314 Action Fund has provided millions of dollars to support candidates in recent elections and says it will have $50 million ready to spend nationwide for 2022.

Acton quit her job at the Columbus Foundation earlier this year to consider a run for the Senate but has made no announcement yet.

Ryan is expected to run but, like Acton, has been testing the waters.

The only announced candidates in the Senate race are former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, a Republican, and former Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken. Republican businessman Mike Gibbons of Cleveland has also talked about a potential run. Rounding out the Republican field may be author J.D. Vance, who penned the bestseller, “Hillbilly Elegy,” that was made into a hit movie.

CNN reported recently that billionaire investor Peter Thiel donated $10 million to a super PAC to encourage Vance to enter the Senate race.