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Auditor Says O'Neill Should Leave Bench After Talking About Running For Governor

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost
Ohio Public Radio

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill’s entry into the Democratic gubernatorial race is being met with calls for him to step down from the bench now.

Republican state Auditor Dave Yost says O’Neill violated judicial code over the weekend by announcing his bid for governor.

“If all he had done is say, ‘I think I’m going to run,” that’s probably not a problem. But he said, ‘I’m planning to do this and here’s what I’m going to do when you elect me governor.’ He crossed the line and he needs to step down now,” Yost says.

O’Neill doesn’t agree. He says he’ll officially become a Democratic gubernatorial candidate when he files the paperwork in February.

If O’Neill steps down now, his replacement will be named Republican by Gov. John Kasich. O’Neill is the only Democrat on the Ohio Supreme Court and one of only two Democrats in statewide elected office.