Dan Horn reports:
Butler County Judge Sharon Kennedy helped Republicans continue their dominance of Ohio’s Supreme Court on Tuesday with a win over Yvette McGee Brown, the only incumbent Democrat on the court.
Kennedy also made history as the first Butler County resident elected to the state’s high court in almost 150 years.
Kennedy, who becomes the only Greater Cincinnatian on the court, led Brown 57 percent to 43 percent late Tuesday with most Ohio precincts reporting. In the two other Supreme Court races, incumbent Republican Terrence O’Donnell easily beat Democratic challenger Michael Skindell, while Democratic challenger William O’Neill topped Republican incumbent Robert Cupp.
If those tallies hold, Republicans would retain a 6-1 majority on the seven-member court, with O’Neill replacing Brown as the lone Democrat.
Kennedy, a Butler County domestic relations court judge and a former police officer, faced a bigger challenge than other recent GOP candidates in winning a Supreme Court seat. Brown, who was appointed to an open seat last year, is popular with her Republican colleagues and appeared to be more palatable to business interests than past Democratic candidates, in part because she voted with the court’s majority in 95 percent of her decisions. She also is the first African-American woman ever to serve on the court.
Kennedy also overcame a rare “not recommended” rating from the Ohio State Bar Association and a snub by the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police, which did not endorse her despite her background as a police officer.
Despite those obstacles, Kennedy, 49, of Liberty Township, won the race and became the first Butler County resident elected to the court since Josiah Scott in 1866. (more…)