Prizm News / August 2, 2018 / By Bob Vitale

Taylor Sappington, who’s running for the General Assembly from Southeast Ohio’s 94th District, helped the former president carry Stark County in 2012.


By Bob Vitale

A 26-year-old openly gay legislative candidate from the tiny Southeast Ohio town of Nelsonville is among 81 Americans across the country who’ve won former President Barack Obama’s endorsement this fall.

- Advertisement -

“I’m still a little stunned and completely proud that he weighed in in our race,” Democrat Taylor Sappington told Prizm this afternoon.

Sappington, who currently serves as a City Council member in Nelsonville (population 5,300), is running in the Nov. 6 election to represent the 94th Ohio House District, which stretches from Athens to the Ohio River and includes Athens, Meigs, Vinton and Washington counties.

He’s challenging first-term Republican Jay Edwards in a district that Obama carried in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential races.

Obama issued his endorsements Wednesday for candidates seeking offices in 14 states. He endorsed candidates for governor and statewide offices, the U.S. House and Senate, and state legislatures. The 16 endorsements in Ohio were the most in any state.

Ohio endorsements also included Richard Cordray and Betty Sutton for governor and lieutenant governor, Steve Dettelbach for attorney general, Kathleen Clyde for secretary of state, Zack Space for state auditor, and Aftab Pureval (1st District) and Jill Schiller for the U.S. House.

“I’m proud to endorse such a wide and impressive array of Democratic candidates—leaders as diverse, patriotic and big-hearted as the America they’re running to represent,” Obama tweeted.

National media speculated that the former president’s endorsements are unlikely to be his last of this election cycle. Media also reported that many of the candidates—including Cordray, who served as the head of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under Obama—have ties to the former president.

Sappington served as the organizer for Obama’s 2012 campaign in Stark County, and he said he has used the lessons learned from that experience in his 2015 council campaign and in this year’s legislative race. Obama carried Stark County, by the way.

“We’re reaching out to neighbors, block by block, saying, ‘We think it’s time for change,'” he said. “I took the Obama model and made it really small.”






Bob Vitale
A Toledo native and graduate of Toledo Public Schools, Bob has worked as a local government and politics reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, as a Washington correspondent for Thomson Newspapers and as editor-in-chief for Outlook Ohio. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from Ball State University and a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.