Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Judicial Elections Bring Turnover at All Levels

Image of Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon L. Kennedy and Tenth District Court of Appeals Judge Jennifer Brunner

(From left) Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon L. Kennedy and Tenth District Court of Appeals Judge Jennifer Brunner

Image of Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon L. Kennedy and Tenth District Court of Appeals Judge Jennifer Brunner

(From left) Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon L. Kennedy and Tenth District Court of Appeals Judge Jennifer Brunner

Ohio’s 2020 judicial elections results show turnover at all levels, with 22 incumbents failing to retain their seats.

In one of two Supreme Court races, Justice Sharon L. Kennedy retained her seat on the high court by ┬ádefeating Cuyahoga County Judge John O’Donnell. Justice Kennedy will begin her second full term on the Court Jan. 1.

Justice Judith L. French lost her reelection bid to Tenth District Court of Appeals Judge Jennifer Brunner. Justice-elect Brunner will be the 162nd justice of the Court and will begin a full term Jan. 2.

Aside from the turnover in one Supreme Court seat, the results showed challengers defeating five appellate judges. Another 15 common pleas judges and one county court judge also lost bids to retain their seats. Additionally, another 41 judicial seats were open in this election because incumbents either chose not to run for reelection or could not run due to Ohio’s constitutional age restrictions on judges.

Overall, 280 candidates were on the general election ballot for 216 judicial seats. In addition to Supreme Court seats, Ohio voters selected 22 judges to the state’s Court of Appeals, 190 to county courts of common pleas and two to county courts.

A breakdown of the judicial-seat turnover includes:

Appellate Judges

  • Ginger Bock replaces incumbent Russell J. Mock on the First District Court of Appeals;
  • Lisa Forbes replaces incumbent Ray Headen on the Eighth District Court of Appeals;
  • Betty Sutton replaces incumbent Julie A. Schafer on the Ninth District Court of Appeals;
  • Terri Jamison replaces incumbent Lisa L. Sadler on the Tenth District Court of Appeals;
  • Matt Lynch replaces incumbent Timothy P. Cannon on the Eleventh District Court of Appeals.

Common Pleas Judges

  • Zachary L. Saunders replaces incumbent Kenneth E. Ryan in the Athens County Probate & Juvenile Division;
  • Andrew J. Santoli replaces incumbent Robert C. McClelland in the Cuyahoga County General Division;
  • Richard A. Bell replaces incumbent Wanda C. Jones in the Cuyahoga County General Division;
  • Andy Miller replaces incumbent Jenifer French in the Franklin County General Division;
  • Sheryl Munson replaces incumbent Gina R. Russo in the Franklin County General Division;
  • George W. Leach replaces incumbent Dana Preisse in the Franklin County Domestic Relations & Juvenile Division;
  • Jeff Mackey replaces incumbent Robert Montgomery in the Franklin County Probate Division;
  • Christian A. Jenkins replaces incumbent Patrick T. Dinkelacker in the Hamilton County General Division;
  • Nicole Sanders replaces incumbent Kim Wilson Burke in the Hamilton County General Division;
  • Jennifer Branch replaces incumbent Elizabeth Callan in the Hamilton County General Division;
  • Robert A. Goering replaces incumbent Thomas O. Beridon in the Hamilton County General Division;
  • Wende Cross replaces incumbent Ethna Marie Cooper in the Hamilton County General Division;
  • Alison Hatheway replaces incumbent Charles J. Kubicki Jr. in the Hamilton County General Division;
  • Kari L. Bloom replaces incumbent John M. Williams in the Hamilton County Juvenile Division;
  • Lori Olender replaces incumbent Alfonso J. Gonzalez in the Lucas County General Division.

County Court

  • Joe Schiavoni replaces incumbent J.P. Morgan in the Mahoning County Court #3.

Other Race Highlights

  • Lasheyl Stroud wins a new seat on the Franklin County Domestic Relations and Juvenile Division;
  • Jeffrey R. Griffith wins a three-way race for the Vinton County Court, a seat that currently is vacant; and
  • Joel M. Kuhlman wins an open seat on the Wood County General and Domestic Relations Division; however, the race may be subject to a recount.

Nearly a third of Ohio’s judiciary was up for election this year. In 2021, voters will elect at least 40 judges to municipal courts. All judges in Ohio serve six-year terms.