Senate candidate Mark Pukita visits the Miami County Fair


By Sam Wildow

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TROY — Mark Pukita, a former IT executive running for the Republican nomination for the seat in the U.S. Senate being vacated by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), visited the Miami County Fair this week as part of his campaign.

Pukita declared his candidacy and planned to run against Portman in the Republican primary before Portman announced in January 2021 that he would not seek re-election in 2022, and Pukita said he was the only candidate to do so.

Pukita, who is from Dublin, is in his fourth week of visits to county fairs, having traveled to over 30 county fairs in Ohio so far.

“I’m a citizen candidate, I’ve never run for office before,” Pukita said. “I have a name recognition challenge, so I’ve got to get out and meet people, and this is a great place where there are families and people who care about the issues, and also I think that we’re in a culture war of the coast versus the midwest, cities folks versus rural folks. Rural folks are the ones who make stuff for us.”

Pukita was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He graduated with honors in 1981 from the Ohio State University after earning a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. In 1996, he founded his own company, which was an IT staffing business, and built it to nearly $100 million annual revenue before selling 90 percent of the company in 2019. The company won the Columbus Business First “Fast 50” nine times between 2005 and 2016.

“I come from a lower middle class family. My grandfathers were both coal miners in eastern Pennsylvania,” Pukita said. He said his parents “didn’t go to college, they went to work.”

Pukita discussed how he was able to go to college, start a technology business, and then sell his business.

“I did better than my parents, and they did better than their parents,” Pukita said. He said, one day, realization struck him that he was living the American dream.

“It really hit me that I live the American dream. I was face-timing with daughter and my grandson, who was five months old at the time, and I looked at him and I thought, ‘Wow, that child won’t have the same opportunity to do what I did if we keep going in the direction we’re going as a country,’” Pukita said.

He recalled watching Portman on television, saying, “He hasn’t done a single thing we’ve asked him to do for Ohio.”

“I kept looking for someone else to step up and be better than Rob Portman and to primary him, and no one was doing it,” Pukita said. “I’m the only candidate in the race who decided to run before Rob Portman quit, before he retired.”

Pukita said, if he was elected, he wanted to approach being a senator from a business standpoint. He said he wanted to use the business management strategy of business process re-engineering in order to shrink the federal government.

“It really is three steps. One, look at everything being in done in a department or agency and decide, is it valuable to the American people and to Ohioans or not? If it is, then decide constitutionally should it be done at the federal level or the state level. If it’s at the federal level, it should be optimized,” Pukita said.

He said there are “only three industries” that have not be gone through a business optimization, which he said were government, higher education, and healthcare.

“Those are the three business-like sectors where the cost is growing faster than the average cost of living,” Pukita said. “It’s because of government interference, and it’s not a free market because of all the government interference or that government money. I would contend that if we get that government money out of healthcare, if we get that government money out of education, I would guarantee you that prices would fall.”

He said he wants to make the federal government 50% to 75% smaller, such as getting rid of federal departments where there are already state departments, like the U.S. Department of Education.

Pukita’s other goals for office include defending the country, fixing education, protecting constitutional rights, crushing “the deep state swamp.” Pukita also wants to get rid of unfunded federal mandates.

For more information on Pukita, visit

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