Forbes wins Ohio Supreme Court race; Hanseman wins appeals court spot

Judge Lisa Forbes of the 8th District Court of Appeals won the Democratic nomination for an open Ohio Supreme Court seat Tuesday, according to final, unofficial results from the Ohio Secretary of State.

Forbes, who earned 63.4% of the vote, beat Judge Terri Jamison of the 10th District Court of Appeals, who earned 36.6% of the vote.

There are three Ohio Supreme Court seats up for grabs this fall but only one of them had a contested primary race.

Forbes will take on Dan Hawkins, a Republican judge with the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, in November.

Forbes and Democratic Justices Michael Donnelly and Melody Stewart — both of whom are on the ballot for reelection in November — released a joint statement Tuesday.

“We’re honored to receive the support of Ohioans across the state who are ready to restore justice, fairness and the rule of law to the Ohio Supreme Court,” the statement said. “For too long, Ohioans have had to endure a Court that has put politics over people, and we look forward to restoring the power to the people this November. With so much at stake in 2024, we need all hands on deck to defend our democracy.”

In November, Donnelly will run against Republican challenger Megan Shanahan, while Stewart will run against Republican Justice Joseph Deters. All four were unopposed in Tuesday’s primaries.

The seat is empty because incumbent Republican Justice Joseph Deters, rather than run for re-election to his own seat, opted to challenge Democratic colleague Melody Stewart for hers, in hopes of whittling down Democrats’ presence on the bench.

The backdrop on all of these statewide races is a tussle between Republicans and Democrats for majority control over the state’s top court, which could prove critical in high-profile issues such as deciding the parameters of abortion rights in Ohio following November’s passage of Issue 1.

Appeals court races

Melena Siebert appears to have beaten fellow Butler County candidate Barbara Carter in the race to be the Republican nominee for judge in the District 12 Court of Appeals, which covers Preble, most of Butler County, Warren County and many points south and east.

According to unofficial results from the Oho Secretary of State’s office Tuesday night, Siebert received 50.4% of the vote, compared with Carter, who had 49.6% of the vote.

The Republican primary for the Second District Court of Appeals judge seat was not as close. That district serves Montgomery, Greene, Darke, Miami, Champaign and Clark counties.

Challenger Robert Hanseman, currently an attorney, won the race with 66.5% of the vote. He defeated Chris Epley, a sitting appeals court judge who was elected in 2020.

In both appeals judge races, the winner of the Republican primary essentially wins the November election, as no Democrat is running.

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