In the midst of the 2016 presidential campaign, the now-infamous Access Hollywood tape leaked, revealing Donald Trump grabbing about kissing and grabbing women without their consent. After the tape was released, more than 16 women claimed that Trump had sexually harassed or assaulted them — charges that Trump has denied, even as president. Now, almost two years later, one of Trump’s accusers, Rachel Crooks, could be elected to Ohio’s state government.
Last night, May 8th, Crooks won the Democratic primary for a seat in the state’s House of Representatives. Crooks ran unopposed. This means that she is now the party’s official nominee and will compete with current Representative Bill Reineke for the position. If she is elected to the traditionally Republican 88th District, she will become the first of Trump’s accusers to hold a government position.
In her campaign announcement, posted in February, Crooks wrote that she has experience working in international student recruitment at two local Ohio universities, and she is in the process of earning her PhD from the University of Toledo. She also referred to her “deep roots” in the district, saying that she went to high school in the area. According to the announcement, her political goals include creating jobs, improving access to health care, improving public schools, and investing in higher education.
Crooks was one of the first two women to come forward with sexual misconduct allegations against Trump. In October 2016, she told the New York Times that Trump had forcibly kissed her in an elevator in 2005, when she was a 22-year-old receptionist at Trump Tower.
In a campaign video pinned to her Twitter page, Crooks discusses her accusations against Trump and reveals that she decided to run for state legislature in part to resist Trump.
Crooks isn’t the only woman who has felt compelled to enter the political field this year: The 2018 elections have seen more female candidates than ever before. According to the Center for American Women and Politics, as of May 9th, 385 women have announced their campaigns for election to the U.S. House of Representatives, compared to the previous high record of 298 in 2012.
Whether Crooks wins or loses the election in November, we admire her commitment to speaking out against predatory behavior. We wish her luck in the upcoming race and hope to see more women elected this year.