COLUMBUS — Two of the seven seats on the Ohio Supreme Court up for grabs this year have been divided evenly among the two parties.
Democratic challenger Jennifer Brunner, a former Secretary of State currently serving on the 10th District Court of Appeals, defeated Republican Supreme Court Justice Judith French, according to unofficial vote totals from the Ohio Secretary of State. Brunner earned 55% of the vote to French's 44%.
Meanwhile, Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy, a Republican, retained her seat against Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge John P. O'Donnell, a Democrat, according to unofficial vote totals from the Ohio Secretary of State. Kennedy earned 54% of the vote, compared to O'Donnell's 45%.
The court is currently made up of five Republicans and two Democrats; Brunner's victory will shift the court slightly to the left.
In Richland County, Kennedy won more votes with 27,397 over O'Donnell's 20,563, according to unofficial vote totals from the Richland County Board of Elections. French won more votes in Richland by a slim margin, with 23,188 to Brunner's 22,581.
French and Kennedy were also ahead in Ashland and Knox counties.
The chief justice and six justices are elected to six-year terms on a nonpartisan ballot. Two justices are chosen at the general election in even-numbered years. In the year when the chief justice runs, voters pick three members of the Court.
A person must be an attorney with at least six years of experience in the practice of law to be elected or appointed to the Court. Appointments are made by the governor for vacancies that occur between elections.