Mar 19, 2024 - News

Shayla Favor wins Franklin County prosecutor primary

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Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

In another closely watched race down ballot, Columbus City Council member Shayla D. Favor won the Democratic primary for Franklin County prosecutor, according to unofficial results.

Why it matters: If elected in November, Favor pledges to reform the local criminal justice system as the first woman and first Black prosecutor in county history.

State of play: The seat is open after incumbent Democrat Gary Tyack decided to retire after one term.

  • As of Tuesday night, Favor had earned 41% of the total vote, defeating Natalia S. Harris, the Delaware city attorney, and Anthony Pierson, deputy chief counsel for the prosecutor's office.

What's next: She will face Republican defense attorney John Rutan in the fall.

Zoom in: Neither candidate has experience prosecuting felony criminal cases.

  • Favor, who represents central Columbus, previously worked as an assistant Columbus city attorney handling code violation and environmental cases.
  • She's pointed toward that role and her legislative work to combat gun violence and housing issues as relevant experience.

The other side: Rutan, who ran in the GOP primary unopposed, says his knowledge of the law and communication skills can overcome a lack of prosecutorial experience.

  • He calls for bail reform, investments in prison diversion programs and an emphasis on battling white collar crimes.

The big picture: Before Tyack, Republican Ron O'Brien held the seat for over two decades.

  • But the county has gotten bluer in that time, and Democrats now hold 10 of 11 executive offices.
  • The engineer's office remains the lone exception, but a Democrat is contesting the seat this November.
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