Five key business groups endorse three Republicans over Democrats for Ohio Supreme Court
Ohio’s five largest business organizations have typically supported Republican candidates. And they’re doing the same this year in three races for the Ohio Supreme Court – which they say are critical in deciding the role the court plays in state policy.
Republican former Congressman Steve Stivers heads the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, which joined the Ohio Business Roundtable, the National Federation of Independent Business Ohio, the Ohio Farm Bureau and the Ohio Manufacturers Association in endorsing the three Republican Supreme Court justices this fall – the first time they’ll be identified as Republicans on the ballot.
"The court races that are on the ballot this year have three incumbent judicial restraint judges, and there are three judges that are much more activists running against them," Stivers said at a press conference announcing the endorsements.
Justices Pat DeWine and Pat Fischer are running against Democratic appeals court judges Marilyn Zayas and Terri Jamison. Republican Justice Sharon Kennedy is running for Chief Justice against Democratic Justice Jennifer Brunner.
The groups say the Republicans represent "predictability" and "stability" over their Democratic opponents when it comes to important business issues coming before the court, such as those dealing with liability insurance, private property, contracts and taxes.
Roger Geiger is the executive director National Federation of Independent Business-Ohio, and said these races together are the most important on ballot this fall.
“It will decide whether or not we have a court that second guesses anything that the legislature does, second guesses anything that the executive branch does, or whether it chooses to fairly and and judiciously apply the law," Geiger said.
Kennedy, DeWine and Fischer have all voted to uphold every legislative and Congressional map approved by Republicans on the Ohio Redistricting Commission. The maps have been ruled unconstitutionally gerrymandered by a majority of the court, composed of Brunner and the court’s two other Democrats along with current Republican Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor.
These groups typically have backed Republican candidates, who have prioritized issues such as changing rules on mandatory overtime. But the Ohio Chamber of Commerce has broken with some Republican state lawmakers over attempts to ban any sort of vaccine requirements, and has not been able to push a bill that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity.
Stivers added that the chamber’s dark money group is fundraising for ads and voter outreach, but since it’s not legally required, it won’t disclose its donors.
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