Republican candidates for Ohio Supreme Court beat all three Democrats on Tuesday, leaving Republicans in control of the court and the chief justice seat.
Justice Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat, conceded in her race for chief justice against Justice Sharon Kennedy, a Republican. The winner replaces retiring Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, a Republican.
Kennedy had 56% of the vote and Brunner had 44%, according to final, unofficial results from the Ohio Secretary of State, with all precincts reporting.
Voters also chose two justices for the court.
Justice Pat Fischer, a Republican, beat Tenth District Court of Appeals Judge Terri Jamison, a Democrat. Fischer had 57% of the vote and Jamison had 43%.
Justice Pat DeWine, a Republican, beat First District Court of Appeals Judge Marilyn Zayas, a Democrat. DeWine had 57% of the vote and Zayas had 43%.
“We fell short, but I am grateful for your support and will continue to work to ensure that justice can be a reality for all of us. I have called my colleague, Justice Sharon Kennedy, and congratulated her on her victory,” Brunner said late Tuesday.
“There are four more years in my current term on the Ohio Supreme Court. I will continue to fight to protect our rights and make the administration of justice more accountable for all Ohioans.”
Kennedy was quoted by Cleveland.com as saying Tuesday night that the Supreme Court would always start with the question, “will it be better for the people that we serve?”
“I am very proud to call Ohio my home. It has been an honor to run for the Ohio Supreme Court. I have met many wonderful people across the state and everywhere I visited felt like home,” Zayas said. “I will continue to faithfully represent all Ohioans equally, guided by the law and constitution,” Judge Zayas said.
Jamison said she is “grateful to every Ohioan who came out to vote and make their voices heard. The Supreme Court profoundly impacts our everyday lives, and it wields incredible power. I am hopeful that all Ohioans will receive equal justice under the law and that the court can be a check on extremism in our state.”
The other candidates could not be reached for comment.
Justices serve six year terms and this year for the first time the candidates’ party affiliation appeared on the General Election ballot after the state legislature approved that change.
Ohio’s governor will pick the replacement justice for Kennedy’s current seat.
The court is likely to consider such hot-button issues as abortion and legislative redistricting.
O’Conner repeatedly joined Democrats in rejecting Republican-drawn state legislative and congressional maps as unconstitutionally favoring Republicans. Those maps remain in litigation, although the Tuesday election used those districts.
And with the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturning abortion rights, challenges to the state’s abortion restrictions are expected to continue.
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