Judge of the Court of Appeals seat preview

Neville Hardman

Three of the seven total seats for Ohio’s Supreme Court are available for grabs this primary.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor runs unopposed for re-election for the first seat, as her current term is up on Dec. 31. Elected in 2003, O’Connor was the first woman to lead Ohio’s judicial branch as chief justice. When she was up for re-election in 2008, she took about 68 percent of the vote.

Republican Pat DeWine, son of Attorney General Mike DeWine, will compete against Democrat Cynthia Rice for the second seat, as Justice Paul Pfeifer cannot run for re-election since he has reached the mandatory retirement age of 70. DeWine was not recommended by the Ohio State Bar Association while Rice was highly recommended.

For the third seat, as Justice Judith Lanzinger is also retiring, candidates Pat Fischer and Colleen O’Toole face each other for the Republican slot. Judge Fischer serves the 1st Ohio District Court of Appeals, serving Hamilton county, whileO’Toole serves the 11th Ohio District Court of Appeals, including the counties of Lake, Geauga, Ashtabula, Portage and Trumbull.

Fischer was recommended over O’Toole by the Ohio State Bar Association. Both candidates face Democratic Judge John P. O’Donnell for the open Ohio Supreme Court seat. Recommended by the Ohio State Bar Association, O’Donnell is currently the judge of Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas General Division in Cleveland.

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