Letson Enters Supreme Court Race

Dec 18, 2013

Ohio Democrats have added another name to the growing list of candidates making a run for statewide office next year.

A veteran representative wants to challenge a Supreme Court justice. Ohio Public Radio's Andy Chow reports.


Democratic Representative Tom Letson from Warren says the Ohio Supreme Court is unbalanced and his arrival would even the scales a little more.

Letson announced his bid to become an associate justice by challenging Justice Sharon Kennedy next year. Letson believes his experience in the world of manufacturing and law makes him qualified for the spot.

Letson: “I am a machinist by trade and a lawyer by profession. I worked in a steel mill from 1970 and I guess my end date was 1987. I started law school at that time and started when I was done at the steel mill.”

In his message to voters, Letson says he would make a better justice because of his upbringing in a working class family compared to Justice Kennedy’s background in law enforcement and probation.

In 2012, two incumbent justices lost their races to Sharon Kennedy and William O’Neill. There were some who thought Kennedy and O’Neill pulled off the upsets because of their familiar, Irish last names. Letson says he’s not worried about playing the name game.

Letson: “I think my name has served me well for the last several decades—I’m not about to change it. So I’m not terribly worried about how the last names might sound. I’m pretty sure that I will be received and I hope to win.”

Justice Kennedy has not officially announced that she’s running for re-election but she is the presumed candidate. Chris Schrimpf with the Ohio Republican Party says Kennedy is a strong incumbent.

Schrimpf: “She’s a very good attorney and she’s very reasoned in her opinions. She’s also an extremely hard worker I don’t think on the Court probably works hard than she does and certainly not on the campaign trail either.”

But Letson says he’s up to the challenge. The representative plans to stay in office as he launches what he describes as a determined campaign.