Speculating on Jennifer Brunner's Future



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Since Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner lost the May 4 Democratic U.S. Senate primary by a much narrower margin than her fund-raising deficit should have allowed, many have been wondering whether she would end her political career when she hands over her office over in January.

Brunner could easily return to the law career she pursued for 13 years before being elected to a judicial seat in Franklin County in 2000. But her Facebook followers couldn’t help noticing that she’s been keeping up an active stream of comments on everything from Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court to offshore oil drilling to financial reform. And she was one of a small group of state politicians who greeted President Obama at V&M Star Steel in Youngstown when he visited May 18 to tout new jobs being created. (Her victorious opponent, Lee Fisher, who says his signature issue is job creation, was conspicuously absent.)

Late last week, she sent out an e-mail that made it clear she doesn’t intend to go away — but not tipping her hand about her exact plans.

“Our campaign energized and inspired people,” she wrote. “Together, we built an organization that can continue to demand we elect our leaders in a new way and change how our government works for us. We have a lot to do. I don’t intend to stop now. How about you? While we wait for the right time to pick up our fight in another campaign, how about helping me help others?”

She’s made it clear she will keep advocating for causes and talking about issues, so it’s unlikely she’ll seek another judicial seat where such open advocacy is out of line. She certainly wouldn’t challenge her friend, Senator Sherrod Brown, for his seat in 2012. Would she go for governor in 2014, or seek the attorney general post, if current attorney general Rich Cordray wants to be governor? Run for Congress? Bide her time and run for Senate again in 2016 if Republican Rob Portman wins the seat in November? Political junkies, start your speculating! — Anastasia Pantsios

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