Ohio Supreme Court justice urges Democrats to leave party

One of two state Democratic office holders is urging fellow Democrats to leave the Ohio Democratic Party.

Ohio Supreme Court Justice William M. O’Neill wrote an impassioned post on his Facebook page this weekend after the Ohio Democratic Party endorsed former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland over Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld. The party did so despite rules that indicated that party endorsements should only occur during the same year as the actual primary.

“Leave the Ohio Democratic Party immediately,” O’Neill wrote to his 2,462 followers. “I have just learned that they have made an endorsement in the US Senate race for my dear friend Ted Strickland. When you see Ted, give him a hug and kiss him goodbye. He is a walking dead man.”

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O’Neill goes on to say that the endorsement makes it clear that the party learned “nothing” from the devastating losses of 2014. He said Strickland would’ve been a much better candidate after emerging from a primary, and he also said he was impressed with Sittenfeld.

“And now I am told the brain trust who LOST EVERY SINGLE STATEWIDE OFFICE IN 2010 is back and in charge,” he wrote. “Run people. Run. The inmates are running the asylum.”

Contacted by phone, O’Neill said he stands by his words. “I’m concerned about the future of the Ohio Democratic Party,” he said, adding that the party over the last three cycles has “amassed a history of losses that is an embarrassment to those of us who have worked inside the party for the past 40 years.”

“I think they have badly wounded Ted Strickland’s chances of becoming a U.S. Senator,” he said, saying that Strickland will spend the next 12 months not being challenged on anything.

“We’re giving him a free ride to the nomination, and by doing that, we’re telling all the young people who wanted to get involved in that race to get lost,” he said.

He said he is a close friend of Strickland, and Strickland was one of the first people who called him when his son returned injured from Iraq in 2008.

He called for the resignation of the appointed members of the Ohio Democratic Party executive commission, saying many are high-paid consultants for the party. “They should all resign,” he said.

“Turn your back on ODP,” he said. “They have turned our back on us.”