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Republicans sweep Ohio Supreme Court races

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WOSU

Republicans won all three seats up for grabs on the Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday and will maintain control of the state’s highest court. The state supreme court will likely play a critical role in major cases on abortion and redistricting in the next year.

Republican Sharon Kennedy has won her bid to be the next chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court after defeating Democrat Jennifer Brunner in a race that can be pivotal for future court decisions.

Brunner and Kennedy are both current associate justices on the Ohio Supreme Court who have been vying for the chief justice spot left open by outgoing Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, a Republican, who has to leave because the state’s 70-year-old age limit prevented her from seeking re-election.

Since 2020, the Ohio Supreme Court has been split with four Republicans and three Democrats on the bench. However, O’Connor has sided with Democrats in a few major decisions over the last two years, making her a crucial swing vote in cases related to redistricting and cash bail.

Kennedy’s win means her current seat is open for an appointment by Gov. Mike DeWine, who is expected to assign a Republican to fill that role.

"It is morning again at the Ohio Supreme Court," said Kennedy to a group of supporters at the Ohio Republican Party's election night watch party in Columbus.

Incumbent Republican justices Pat Fischer and Pat DeWine won their bids for re-election against Democratic challengers Terri Jamison, of the Tenth District Court of Appeals, and Marilyn Zayas, of the First District Court of Appeals.

That means Republicans will continue to have a 4-3 majority on the bench.

A lot of attention and money has been spent on Ohio’s supreme court races. Not only will the court deliberate on future redistricting cases for the next round of state legislative and congressional maps, but the court is also expected to consider a constitutional challenge to Ohio’s six-week abortion ban.

Read More: Ohio Election Results: 2022 Statewide Races

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.
Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.