Plough, Oswick win judge races

Grace Dobush

Craig Stephens, campaign manager for Kent judge nominee Timothy D. Ludick and Ravenna judge nominee Frank J. Cimino, relays early election returns to Judge Laurie Pittman. Ravenna Democrats met at the Italian American Club to review results and socialize

Credit: Ben Breier

A former county prosecutor will take the bench in Ravenna, and the municipal judge in Kent will keep her position.

John Plough, 58, a lawyer and former Portage County prosecutor, yesterday won about 10,500 votes, or 27.3 percent of the vote, narrowly beating incumbent Judge William Nome, 54, who received about 9,400 votes, or 24.5 percent.

Plough was unavailable for comment last night.

Nome expressed surprise at the outcome.

“Elections are a tough thing to predict,” he said. “I had a lot of help from a lot of good people. I ran on my record.”

Plough, who ran unsuccessfully for common pleas judge last year, had the smallest campaign fund of any of the municipal judge candidates, according to the Record Courier.

The term Plough won, ending Dec. 31, 2009, was vacated when Judge Laurie Pittman was elected to the Portage County Common Pleas Court. Nome was appointed to the judgeship in February.

Plough was also up against longtime Ravenna law director Frank Cimino, 58, who won about 23 percent of the vote, attorney Melanie Miguel-Courtad, 36, who won about 14 percent, and Portage County chief assistant prosecutor Denise Smith, 49, who won about 11 percent of the vote.

In his campaign, Plough claimed he had more jury trial experience than the other four candidates combined. His campaign promises included establishing a night court, staggering arraignment times for traffic violations and using diversion programs to avoid criminal records for first-time, nonviolent offenders.

Judge Barbara Oswick won the Kent judgeship with about 23,500 votes, or 60.4 percent. Challenger Timothy Ludick, 54, a former mayor of Kent and attorney for Brady Lake, received about 15,400 votes.

Oswick, 56, was appointed to the position in Kent Municipal Court by Gov. Bob Taft last September. The term, ending Dec. 31, 2007, became open after of the death of Judge Donald Martell.

Oswick and her husband, Larry, were waiting for the results last night with their daughters, who had come in from out of state for the week.

“It was a tough race,” Oswick said. “But I believed in the people of Portage County, and they believed in me.”

Oswick has said her goals as municipal judge include trying to prevent drug and alcohol offenses by meeting with students.

This past Friday, Oswick filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission about Ludick’s advertisements, the Record Courier reported.

Ludick’s ads claimed that Oswick had missed 37 out of her first 200 days of work and that she was buying the judgeship, the Record Courier reported.

“The truth prevailed,” Oswick said of the ads.

Ludick said he was surprised by the outcome. During the campaign he emphasized his experience, saying it was more varied and substantial than Oswick’s.

Contact public affairs reporter Grace Dobush at [email protected].