Ohio Democrats had an overall dismal performance in Tuesday’s elections, losing the governorship and all of the down-ticket statewide races including secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer and auditor.
They also lost every congressional seat they had targeted to flip from red to blue.
But they did score some significant wins on the judicial side, including on the Ohio Supreme Court, where the GOP held a dominant 7-0 majority.
Democrat Melody Stewart becomes the first black woman to be elected to the Ohio Supreme Court.
Stewart, from Cleveland, defeated incumbent Mary DeGenaro, of Youngstown, who was appointed to the position earlier this year by Gov. John Kasich. DeGenaro replaced former Justice Bill O’Neill, who before resigning was the only Democrat on the court.
Former Cleveland Cavalier and Akron native LeBron James was one of the first to deliver a shout-out to Stewart via Twitter:
— LeBron James (@KingJames) November 7, 2018
James was actually quicker to congratulate Stewart on social media than Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Peppers, who waited until Thursday to issue the following tweet.
— David Pepper (@DavidPepper) November 8, 2018
Democrat Michael Donnelly also won a spot on the Ohio Supreme Court in Tuesday’s election, and will replace Terrence O’Donnell, who is stepping down due to age limits.
Stewart, who has served since 2006 as a judge on the Eighth District Court of Appeals, told WOSU that she knew she faced an uphill challenge being a “woman of color” and a Democrat, but she thought the court lacked diversity with all seven seats held by white Republicans.
“I knew that our history as a party wasn’t good with getting seats on the Ohio Supreme Court,” Stewart said.” I knew it would be additionally difficult for being a woman of color.”
With both of the seats up for grabs Tuesday going to Democrats, the make-up of the Ohio Supreme Court will shift from 7-0 to 5-2, with the Republicans still holding a majority.
Governing magazine, a trade publication that reports on state and local politics, pointed to the election of two Democratic justices in Ohio as “perhaps the biggest surprise for Democrats” on election night.
Also in Tuesday’s elections, candidates supported by the Democrat Party picked up three First District Court of Appeals seats and two seats on the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.
– – –