woman campaigning for senate in ohio

Morgan Harper/TikTok

Senate candidate goes viral for turning catcall into campaign speech

She flipped it right back around.

 

Carly Novell

Tech

Published Sep 1, 2021   Updated Sep 1, 2021, 2:23 pm CDT

A woman running for Senate in Ohio went viral on TikTok after rejecting romantic advances from men while campaigning at the Ohio Classic football game. The TikTok received over 1 million views and almost 150,000 likes. 

Morgan Harper is a 38-year-old attorney and activist who in August announced her run for the Senate in Ohio as a Democrat in 2022. While Harper’s goal in attending was advancing her candidacy, the video showed men making advances toward her instead.

In the 15-second video, a man approaches Harper saying, “I just want to say, you’re gorgeous.” In a professional manner, Harper introduces herself and responds, “I’m also running for U.S. Senate, so more importantly, you need to make sure you’re paying attention to my Senate race.”

@mh4oh

US Senate candidate for Ohio

♬ original sound – Morgan Harper

One comment with almost 2,000 likes from @winkydinkysd reads: “She flipped it around and I’m here for it.”

It is no secret that sexism pervades American politics. Women are objectified for their appearances before anyone even listens to their ideas. In an article called “No, It’s Not Sexist to Describe Woman Politicians’ Clothes,” published less than a decade ago in the Atlantic, an author argued why she should be able to describe a female politician as “habitually wearing a shapeless skirt-suit.” 

In the current makeup of Congress, women hold a record number of seats at 27%, according to Pew Research. Notably, 38% of Democratic members in Congress are women, while only 14% of Republican congressional seats are held by women. 

Harper is running against fellow Democrat candidate, Rep. Tim Ryan, who has served in Congress for 18 years and ran a short-lived presidential campaign in the 2020 election. 

Another comment on the TikTok from @jfleming931 says that they’re: “So thrilled to have a strong, progressive candidate in the race! Forget Tim Ryan, this is the Ohio we deserve!”

According to the Columbus Dispatch, Harper has pledged to not accept donations from corporate PACs. 

As an Ohio native, Harper spent the first nine months of her life in foster care until she was adopted by her mother, a Columbus school teacher. She told the Dispatch that her political involvement comes from watching her mother struggle with finances when she was a child. 

In the midst of the pandemic, Harper co-founded a non-profit called “Columbus Stand Up!”, which is aimed at direct service and grassroots organizing. In 2021, the group offered free rides to vaccination appointments for Ohioans. 

The Senate election is not until November 2022 and the Democratic primary has not yet been scheduled. Harper is somewhat of an underdog in this race, being up against a Democrat with an extensive background in Congress and a long list of endorsements.

Harper did not respond to a request for comment.

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*First Published: Sep 1, 2021, 2:15 pm CDT