Dems pick up seat on Ohio Supreme Court, Republicans retain majority

The Gavel Sculpture in downtown Columbus sits in the reflecting pool alongside the Ohio Supreme Court building.
The Gavel Sculpture in downtown Columbus sits in the reflecting pool alongside the Ohio Supreme Court building.

Democrats have picked up one seat on the Ohio Supreme Court but won’t grab control of the seven-member high court, according to AP reports.

As of 11 p.m. Tuesday, Democrat Jennifer Brunner was leading 55.57% to incumbent Republican Justice Judi French’s 44.43%.

Brunner is the former Ohio secretary of state and is a 10th District Court of Appeals judge.

French was first appointed to the Ohio Supreme Court in January 2013.

10th District Court of Appeals Judge Jennifer Brunner
10th District Court of Appeals Judge Jennifer Brunner

In the other race, incumbent Republican Justice Sharon Kennedy defeated Democratic challenger John P. O’Donnell, the AP reported.

Kennedy led 54.73% to O’Donnell’s 45.27%, according to unofficial results from the Secretary of State’s Office at around 11 p.m. O’Donnell, a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court judge, lost his bid for Ohio Supreme Court in 2014 and 2016. Kennedy was firsts appointed to the court in 2012.

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy
Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy

The GOP has held a majority of seats on the court for three decades.

ExploreBalance of Ohio Supreme Court at stake in 2020 election

Justices serve six-year terms. The high court decisions impact how much Ohioans pay in taxes, whether utility companies can add fees to ratepayers' bills, how insurance and business laws are interpreted, what government records will be available to the public and more.

Next year, it is anticipated that the Ohio Supreme Court may be asked to weigh in on disputes over the soon-to-be-drawn legislative and congressional district maps. Voters approved new map making processes, which gives the high court oversight.

These results are expected to change as more ballots are counted through Nov. 18. We will continue to update these results as more ballots are counted.

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