Oster wins race for Butler County judge’s seat

Butler County’s assistant prosecutor on Tuesday won the Republican nomination to a Butler County Common Pleas Court judgeship, according to unofficial results from the Butler County Board of Elections.

Assistant County Prosecutor Michael Oster, of Monroe, bested two other attorneys — Ben Manning, magistrate/court administrator for the 12th District Court of Appeals, and Common Pleas Court magistrate Ronald James of Hamilton.

The three sought election in the Republican primary to the judgeship that has been held for 24 years by Judge Michael Sage, who announced in January that he was not running for re-election.

Oster said Tuesday he was “humbled and honored” to learn of the victory. He will advance to the November general election, where there will be no Democratic opposition.

He said a major factor in his primary win is his legal experience, which includes multiple oral arguments before the Ohio Supreme Court, ranging from misdemeanor conviction to capital murder cases.

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“The voters are looking at the person who had experience at the highest level of legal profession, which is arguing before the Ohio Supreme Court, and especially when you’re doing capital murder arguments … they’re twice as long and typically have four times the amount of issues that you would find in a typical case,” he said.

Oster said his biggest goal in his new role is to make sure his courtroom is a place where everyone feels they have equal access to the court system.

“It doesn’t matter who your attorney is, it doesn’t matter what county you’re from, if you’re in the Butler County court system, you’re going to get fair, equal justice and the opportunity to be heard,” he said.

Oster said his grassroots campaign of getting out and knocking on doors resonated with voters.

“Signs and mailers can only do so much, but I think going out and meeting the people is a incredible thing,” he said.

He said he couldn’t have earned victory Tuesday without the hard work of volunteers, including people from his community and church, as well as present and past players from the high school soccer team he coaches and their parents.

Oster also said it helps that his wife and their 5-year-old-son and 3-year-old daughter have been “incredible” throughout the campaign.

“My wife has just been a rock for our family,” he said.

Oster will take over his new position on Feb. 9, 2015.

“Judge Sage is a former prosecutor, like myself, who had tried some of the hardest capital murder cases when he was a prosecutor, and I find it a great honor to follow after somebody like that,” Oster said. “While those are big shoes to fill, I hope I can fill them and even try to give more than that, which I understand will be a daunting task.”

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