Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Democratic candidates for Ohio Supreme Court confident in their chances this fall

The Ohio Supreme Court building in Columbus.
Daniel Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
The Ohio Supreme Court building in Columbus.

Republican justices have a 4-3 majority on the Ohio Supreme Court and hope to increase their hold on the panel, with two seats occupied by Democrats in this fall’s ballot. Republicans have held the majority on the court for nearly three decades. But the Democratic candidates for the state's highest court say they will fight to win all three races on the ballot.

There is one open seat on the Ohio Supreme Court; the seat now occupied by Republican Justice Joe Deters, who’s running for a different seat on the court. Democratic voters Tuesday chose 8th District Court of Appeals Judge Lisa Forbes, who was endorsed by the Ohio Democratic Party, over 10th District Court of Appeals Judge Terri Jamison by an unofficial margin of 63-37. Jamison lost her bid for the state's highest court in 2022 to Republican Justice Patrick Fischer. Forbes said she has one goal.

“It’s vitally important that the Supreme Court serve as an effective firewall to protect our democracy and the rule of law," Forbes said.

Democratic Justice Melody Stewart is being challenged for her seat by Deters. He was appointed last year to fill out the rest of Justice Sharon Kennedy’s term after she was elected chief justice in 2022. His term would end in 2026, so he’s running to unseat Stewart so he can serve a full six-year term. Stewart said he told her he didn't want to run against her.

"He said I know, I detest it. I hate it. But I had no choice. To get the appointment, I had to run to take out one of the Democrats," Stewart said.

Democratic Justice Michael Donnelly is up for re-election. He will face Republican Hamilton County Judge Megan Shanahan.

In a written statement, Ohio Republican Party Chair Alex Triantafilou said Republicans "look forward to supporting these fine jurists and are confident we will expand our Republican majority on the court in November.”

The Democrats said they are working to try to get rid of a law passed by the Republican legislature that puts partisan labels on ballots next to the names of some judicial candidates, including for Supreme Court. That law is also facing a legal challenge. The Democrats said justices should rule on cases based on merit, not on partisan ideologies. And they said Ohio voters should not expect justices to rule a certain way on cases that come before them.


Contact Jo Ingles at
Related Content