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Former Secretary Of State Jennifer Brunner Will Run For Ohio Supreme Court

Jennifer Brunner

Democrat Jennifer Brunner has announced plans to seek a seat next year on the Ohio Supreme Court as her party tries to wrest control of the high court from Republicans.

The state Supreme Court will have two seats up for grabs on the 2020 ballot, both of which are currently held by Republican justices.

Jennifer Brunner, an Appeals Court Judge and former Ohio Secretary of State, will run for the seat now held by Justice Judith French. Brunner says she is running because the court will take up big issues like criminal justice and property rights.

“The Supreme Court sort of sets the tone for what issues are we going to consider, what issues are we going to look at, how are we going to look at them and they have a way, as I saw when I was Secretary of State protecting people’s votes, of filtering down to affect people in the most intimate ways," Brunner says.

The 62-year-old Columbus judge has statewide name recognition after serving a four-year term as Secretary of State in 2007. She ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2010.

Brunner will join Cleveland Judge John O’Donnell in a run for the high court, although Supreme Court races are technically nonpartisan. If both win, it would tip the control of the court to Democrats, which could be important in 2021 if there are challenges to the state’s new redistricting process. 

In his third run for the court, O'Donnell will challenge incumbent Justice Sharon Kennedy. O'Donnell lost to French in 2014 and to Republican Pat Fischer in 2016 by less than a percentage point.