COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Ohio voted to keep its Republican state officials and, for the first time, elect a chief justice identified as Republican on the ballot.
In more than a half dozen races, the Associated Press projected incumbents for the state’s offices for attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer and auditor will maintain their roles, while Republican candidates for the state’s highest court handily defeated challengers.
Incumbent Dave Yost defeated Rep. Jeffrey Crossman (D-Parma), paving the way for Yost’s second term as Ohio’s top law enforcement officer, the AP projected Tuesday night.
Crossman was elected to the Ohio House in 2018 after serving on Parma’s city council. If elected, the attorney vowed to protect Ohioans’ abortion access and to start a task force on government corruption. As a state representative, Crossman has introduced bills to require trigger locks with firearm sales and prevent price gouging on infant formula.
Secretary of State
Frank LaRose has secured a second term as the state’s premier election official, defeating challengers Chelsea Clark and Tore Maras, the AP projected Tuesday night.
After serving as state senator from 2011 to 2018, LaRose created the state’s first Election Integrity Task Force to review selection security issues. Prioritizing election integrity, LaRose also instituted monthly voter roll purges to remove deceased Ohioans from the list. According to his campaign website, LaRose helped state legislators develop Issue 2, a constitutional amendment to bar local governments from allowing noncitizens to vote.
Prior to entering politics, LaRose served in the U.S. Army for more than a decade, joining the military branch’s Green Beret special forces and deploying to Iraq, Kosovo, Oman and other combat zones.
Clark, elected to Forest Park City Council in 2017, ran for secretary of state because “our democracy is under attack,” according to her campaign website. As a small business owner, Clark planned to streamline the business filing process and dedicate resources for veteran-, minority- and women-owned businesses. She also vowed to modernize the state’s voter registration database and expand options for voter registration and early voting.
Tore Maras is a podcaster and political blogger who ran as an independent for secretary of state. The U.S. Navy veteran has embraced false claims that the 2020 presidential election was rigged and has made election security a mainstay of her platform. According to her campaign website, Maras wanted to reinstate paper ballots and eliminate voting machines from Ohio’s elections.
Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague returns to the office for a second term, defeating Democratic candidate Scott Schertzer, the AP projected Tuesday night.
In his first term as treasurer, Sprague oversaw several programs to provide financial assistance to Ohioans, including the Family Forward program for prospective adoptive parents and the STABLE Account program to offer specialized savings and investment accounts to disabled people. Sprague also spearheaded ResultsOHIO, which evaluates privately-run social and public health programs.
Formerly the auditor and treasurer of his hometown of Findlay, Sprague also served in the Ohio House from 2011-2018.
Before becoming mayor of Marion in 2008, Schertzer taught for 13 years and spent nine years on Marion’s city council. In 2018, he became president of the Ohio Municipal League, a coalition of mayors and city officials. According to Schertzer’s campaign website, he hoped to prioritize “collaboration and cooperation” if elected.
Incumbent Keith Faber will maintain his position as state auditor, defeating Democratic challenger Taylor Sappington, the AP projected.
Under Faber’s charge, the auditor’s office has secured nearly 90 corruption convictions against public officials since 2019, according to his campaign website. Faber called himself an “award-winning conservative” whose office uncovered more than $5 billion in fraud and overpayments within Ohio’s unemployment compensation system during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Faber previously served in both the Ohio House and Senate. He owns a private law practice in Celina, Ohio.
Sappington has served as Nelsonville’s city auditor since 2019, helping the city recover from near-disaster after the former auditor stole thousands from the municipal payroll. Prior to becoming city auditor, Sappington ran a failed Ohio House campaign in 2018.
Ohio Supreme Court
Associate Justice Sharon Kennedy will be the state’s next chief justice in Ohio’s first general election with justices’ political party alignments on the ballot, chief justice, the AP projected Tuesday night.
A 10-year veteran of the state’s highest bench, Kennedy defeated her colleague and Democratic candidate Justice Jennifer Brunner for the empty seat left by Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor. Kennedy describes her judicial philosophy as one of “judicial restraint,” focusing her decisions narrowly on the specific question in a case.
Prior to sitting on the state supreme court, Kennedy was a domestic relations judge in Butler County Court of Common Pleas for 10 years, special counsel to the state’s attorney general’s office and a law enforcement officer in Hamilton.
Brunner joined the Ohio Supreme Court in 2020 after serving on the 10th District Court of Appeals for six years and in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court for five. In 2006, Brunner became the first female Ohio Secretary of State. She told the Ohio Bar Association that knowing when to use restraint and when to shoulder “the burden of unpopularity” is among the most important responsibilities of the judiciary, as well as upholding the integrity of the court.
Brunner will return to her role as associate justice for the next term.
Republican Justice Patrick Fischer will return to the state supreme court for his second term, defeating Democratic challenger Terri Jamison, the AP projected.
In a JudicialVotesCount candidate questionnaire, Fischer said he believed in the bench’s ability to improve the justice system. Before becoming an associate justice, Fischer was a judge on the First District Court of Appeals for six years. He has also served as a visiting judge in five other federal appeals courts in Ohio.
Jamison started her career as a Franklin County public defender before stepping into an attorney role with Ohio’s Unemployment Compensation Review Commission. After that, she owned a private law practice from 2005 to 2012. Jamison told the Ohio Bar Association that a judge’s greatest responsibility is to apply the rules to a case’s facts and, in the absence of a rule, to interpret the law.
Republican Justice R. Patrick DeWine will maintain his position on the Ohio Supreme Court, the AP projected, defeating Democratic challenger Marilyn Zayas.
The son of Gov. Mike DeWine began his judicial career as a Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge before advancing to the First District Court of Appeals. He told the Ohio Bar Association that judicial decisions should come from the law, not any particular policy or ideology.
Zayas was elected to the First District Court of Appeals in 2016, becoming the first Latina judge to serve on a federal appellate court in Ohio. She owned a private law firm for 16 years focusing on immigration and asylum, and before that she was a public defender in Hamilton County. She told the Ohio Bar Association that she strives for clarity when writing her decisions.