The November 2014 ballot will include races for seats on the Supreme Court of Ohio, Eighth District Court of Appeals and the Court of Common Pleas. The Ohio Constitution provides that judges serve for a term of six years. The number of terms they may serve are unlimited; however, no person may be elected or appointed to a judicial office once they reach age 70.
Two incumbent justices are up for re-election in 2014: Justice Judith L. French and Justice Sharon L. Kennedy. Justice French was appointed to her seat by Governor John Kasich following the retirement of former Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, who retired January 1, 2013. Justice Sharon L. Kennedy was elected to her seat to complete an unexpired term ending December 31, 2014. State Representative Tom Letson (D-Warren) is challenging Justice Kennedy. Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge John P. O’Donnell is challenging Justice French. Judge O’Donnell has been on the Common Pleas bench since 2002.
The Eighth District Court of Appeals features several uncontested contests, including Judge Sean C. Gallagher, Judge Larry A. Jones, and Judge Patricia Ann Blackmon, all of whom are running unopposed. Judge Kenneth Rocco is retiring from the bench after 32 years of service. Judge Rocco’s seat was filled by Anita Laster Mays after a Democratic primary on May 6, 2014.
In the General Division of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, eight judges are running uncontested: Michael J. Russo, Nancy A Fuerst, Nancy R. McDonnell, Brendan J. Sheehan, Robert C. McClelland, Nancy Margaret Russo, Deena R. Calabrese, and Joan Synenberg. There are two contested races. Judge Richard J. McMonagle is retiring at the end of the year, after 36 years on the bench. Judge McMonagle will be the longest-serving judge in the General Division in Cuyahoga County history. McMonagle is a Republican running in a Democratic county, and won six elections, all of them by wide margins. McMonagle’s son, Matthew A. McMonagle, is running for his father’s seat against Democratic challenger Shannon M. Gallagher. Shannon Gallagher is the niece of eighth District Court of Appeals Judge Sean Gallagher. Finally, incumbent Judge Pamela A. Barker faces challenger Sherrie Miday in the other contested bout in Cuyahoga County.