Jan 10, 2023 - News

Law professor eyes run to challenge O'Malley for prosecutor

Cleveland law professor Matthew Ahn stands with his arms crossed posing for a photo.

Cleveland law professor Matthew Ahn is thinking of challenging Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Mike O'Malley. Photo: Courtesy of Matthew Ahn

When he runs for re-election in 2024, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O'Malley probably won't have the unobstructed path that he enjoyed in 2020.

Why it matters: O'Malley unseated Timothy McGinty in 2016, carried into office by a wave of progressive groups angered that McGinty failed to indict officers Frank Garmback and Timothy Loehmann in the death of Tamir Rice.

  • A progressive insurgency amassing strength across Cuyahoga County could welcome an alternative.

Driving the news: Matthew Ahn, 31, a Cleveland resident and visiting professor of law at Cleveland State, tells Axios that he intends to announce today an "exploratory committee" to weigh a potential campaign for prosecutor.

The details: Ahn says the Cuyahoga County criminal legal system is "not creating justice for all members of our society."

What they're saying: "I have the litigation knowledge to be able to win cases," says Ahn, who previously served as a public defender for the U.S. District Court, "but my bigger qualification is that I know it's not always worth it to win. What's best for the state may not be seeking every single maximum sentence."

Between the lines: Ahn previously served as an outreach director with the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party and has connections within a number of Cleveland's progressive organizations. But against O'Malley, he's still a long shot.

What's next: The race's primary election — the one that matters for Cuyahoga County offices — isn't until spring 2024.

  • Ahn is mobilizing early to get ahead of other potential Democratic challengers.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Cleveland.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Cleveland stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Cleveland.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more