Inside the crucial Ohio Supreme Court races
While Ohio's Senate race has taken center stage in the upcoming midterm election, the outcomes of the state Supreme Court races could be even more important.
Why it matters: This is the first year court candidates appear with party affiliations on the ballot.
- The results of these races could alter the red-leaning court to blue, a crucial shift with redistricting and abortion rights at the forefront of the statewide political landscape.
State of play: The court has seven members serving six-year terms. Three of those seats are open this midterm election.
- Republicans have been in control since 1986.
Driving the news: Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor, a 71-year-old Republican and the first woman to lead the state judicial branch, is not seeking re-election due to age limits.
- Two current Ohio Supreme Court Justices, Republican Sharon Kennedy and Democrat Jennifer Brunner, are running for O'Connor's seat.
- The governor will fill the winner's spot after the election.
- Brunner was elected to the court in 2020. She previously served on the Franklin County Common Pleas Court and the Tenth District Court of Appeals, and was Secretary of State from 2007-11.
- Kennedy joined the court in 2012 and was elected for a full term in 2014. She started her career as a police officer and most recently sat on the Butler County Court of Common Pleas.
What's more: Democrat Marilyn Zayas is running against Republican Pat DeWine — Gov. Mike DeWine's son — who is up for re-election.
- Zayas served on the First District Court of Appeals. She was the first Latina elected to any Ohio Court of Appeals.
- DeWine was elected to the court in 2016. He previously served on both the First District Court of Appeals and Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.
The intrigue: DeWine's familial ties were a hot topic earlier this year during redistricting proceedings, because Gov. DeWine was on the redistricting committee.
- Justice DeWine said he would only recuse himself from proceedings if his father was being held in contempt by the court, per the Ohio Capital Journal.
- The redistricting process was messy — the court rejected redistricted maps seven times this year, but state Republicans appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court last week.
Meanwhile, Democrat Terri Jamison is running against Republican Justice Pat Fischer in the third race.
- Jamison previously served on the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas and the Tenth District Court of Appeals.
- Fischer was elected to the court in 2016 after practicing law for over 30 years.
The bottom line: It's not too late to request an absentee ballot or look into early voting.
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