Xenia political newcomer wants to replace Rob Portman in U.S. Senate

Michael Leipold
Michael Leipold

A political newcomer from Xenia who says he’s “angry” about how things are running in Washington, D.C., is seeking the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat being left by Rob Portman in 2022.

Veteran Michael Leipold, who is now a MedFlight pilot, said the federal government is too divisive now and he wants to do something about it.

“I think the big thing is, with a lot of Americans there is a general consensus that things need to change, and I am a big proponent of that, I don’t think that the way that the US government is running right now is effective,” Leipold said. “I think it is too centralized on two points of view, either conservative, or you are a liberal, I think that that needs to be more based upon the demographics of the people, what the people want.”

Portman, R-Cincinnati, announced in January he will not run for a third term in 2022.

“This is a tough time to be in public service,” Portman said in a statement, citing hyper-partisanship in Congress.

“I don’t think any Senate office has been more successful in getting things done, but honestly, it has gotten harder and harder to break through the partisan gridlock and make progress on substantive policy, and that has contributed to my decision.”

Leipold is retired Army pilot who has never held a political office. During his 22 years in the military, he was deployed six times as an Air Mission Commander fighting terrorism in combat locations within the Middle East, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

He has been a MedFlight pilot for the past six years, working closely with local and state law enforcement, firefighters and medical personnel. Leipold now lives in Xenia with wife and eight children. The family moved to Ohio in 2015.

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Leipold said he doesn’t see a lot of work being done in government right now, so he decided to run.

“I threw my hat in the ring, because I’m angry,” he said. “I don’t think that the groups that you see right now in Washington have the best interests of the American people in mind.”

Leipold said he is a firm believer in setting term limits for politicians, the Second Amendment and he is pro-life. He said he would be in favor of “mirroring” the so-called “heartbeat abortion ban bill,” a controversial piece of anti-abortion legislation which passed through the Statehouse in 2019.

“Human life starts whenever conception is there,” Leipold said. “Sanctity of life is a huge issue for us.”

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Leipold said he also is interested in curbing the opiate epidemic. He is currently studying to get his master’s degree in addiction counseling.

Leipold said Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is a huge employment opportunity for the greater Dayton area, so anyone representing Ohio should keep the base top of mind.

“You have all kinds of different companies out here that benefit from those contracts and I think that actually going into Washington with the mindset of bringing federal dollars to the Wright-Patt area really helps out with employment opportunities for the Dayton area,” he said.

Leipold said he’s never been involved with politics before, but looks forward to getting more involved.

Earlier this week, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Youngstown joined the Senate race. He is currently the only Democrat to announce his run for Senate.

Former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, former state GOP party chair Jane Timken and entrepreneur Bernie Moreno all have announced they are running for Portman’s seat as Republicans.

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