Ohio Supreme Court Primary: Battle for Partisan Control Begins with Two Democrats

Ohio Supreme Court Primary: Battle for Partisan Control Begins with Two Democrats

Ohio Supreme Court Primary: Democrats Start Campaign for Partisan Control

Tuesday’s Democratic primary for one of three contested seats on the Ohio Supreme Court will kick off a high-stakes battle for partisan control of the court this fall. The court currently has a 4-3 Republican majority, which makes it imperative for Democrats to sweep all three races in November. Retaining two incumbents and winning an open seat will not be an easy feat, as the state Supreme Court has been under Republican control for the past 35 years.

A High-Stakes Battle for Partisan Control

The Ohio Supreme Court holds sway on important issues such as how to implement an amendment to the state constitution, which protects abortion rights that voters overwhelmingly approved last year. After a strong showing of support, Democrats see this year’s race as a possible way to chip away at the Republican Party’s longstanding control of all three branches of government in Ohio.

The Contested Seat in the Democratic Primary

Only one seat is contested in the Democratic primary. Judge Lisa Forbes, endorsed by the Ohio Democratic Party, is facing Judge Terri Jamison for the 8th District Court of Appeals. The winner will run against Republican Judge Dan Hawkins in November’s general election. Hawkins was formerly with the Franklin County prosecutor’s office and the Franklin County Municipal Court.

The Candidates

Forbes has been a partner at a national law firm in Cleveland and focused on business and consumer class-action law before her service on the Court of Appeals. Jamison, who won 43% of the vote in a previous race against Ohio Supreme Court incumbent Pat Fischer, served as a public defender in Franklin County before starting her own law firm and subsequently being elected to the 10th District Court of Appeals in 2020.

Building a Democratic Majority on the Court

During their campaigns, both candidates emphasized the importance of building a Democratic majority on the Ohio Supreme Court. “The Supreme Court needs to be an effective firewall to protect our democracy, our constitutional rights, and the rule of law,” Forbes said in a campaign ad. “I will never bend to political pressure, and I will always stand up for your rights.” Jamison said the Ohio Supreme Court “should be accessible to everyone, not just the wealthy or powerful.”

The Republican Challenge: Joe Deters vs. Justice Melody Stewart

Republican Joe Deters, who was appointed by the governor in 2022, has decided to challenge Justice Melody Stewart, a Democrat, for her seat, which runs through 2030 — four years longer than his current seat. The incumbent-versus-incumbent primary would tend to favor the Republican, given the state’s politics.

Other Contested Race: Democratic Justice Michael Donnelly vs. Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Megan Shanahan

In the third court race, Democratic Justice Michael Donnelly will face Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Megan Shanahan, a Republican, in November’s general election. Donnelly and Stewart were elected to a previously all-Republican court in 2018.

In Conclusion

The Ohio Supreme Court primary race will be closely watched for its potential to shift the court’s balance of power. Democrats are focused on gaining the three contested seats to have the majority and implement the amendment to the state constitution which protects abortion rights. Republicans will be fighting hard to keep control of the court. The stakes are high, and the odds are against the Democrats, but we will have to wait until November’s elections to see the outcome.

Originally Post From https://www.fox19.com/2024/03/19/ohio-supreme-court-primary-with-2-democrats-kicks-off-long-campaign-over-courts-partisan-control/

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