TV Advertising Ahead in Ohio Supreme Court Primary

Residents of Cleveland, Ohio soon will see TV ads in the GOP primary for the Ohio Supreme Court.  Court of Appeals Judge Pat Fischer’s campaign has signed contracts for at least $54,470 in TV advertising, Justice at Stake and the Brennan Center for Justice said on Thursday.

The ads are set to begin airing on Monday. The primary pits Fischer and Court of Appeals Judge Colleen O’Toole against each other. Court of Common Pleas Judge John O’Donnell, a Democrat, will face the winner in the general election. Court of Appeals Judges Pat DeWine, a Republican, and Cynthia Rice, a Democrat, do not face primary opponents in their contest for another open seat. Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor is running unopposed.

“Ohio has a history of multimillion-dollar Supreme Court elections, and in the last cycle it was among a handful of states where election costs exceeded $1 million per seat,” said JAS Executive Director Susan Liss. “With more evidence appearing that high spending in judicial campaigns has an effect on courtroom rulings, these early signs that the money race may be on again this year raise serious concerns.”

“We will continue to track television advertisements in Ohio, which has a history of mud-slinging ads and high-spending races,” said Alicia Bannon, senior counsel in the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. The Brennan Center is a JAS partner organization.