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Sharon Kennedy wins race for Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice, GOP justices win re-election bids

Sharon Kennedy, Republican candidate for Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice
Kennedy for Ohio
Sharon Kennedy, Republican candidate for Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice

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 4 Republicans and 3 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.

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