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Published: Friday, 9/2/2005

Ex-judge seeks Democratic nomination for secretary of state

BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU

COLUMBUS - Jennifer Brunner yesterday surrendered her black robe to formally launch her bid for the Democratic nomination for Ohio secretary of state in 2006.

The former judge officially resigned from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas on Wednesday.

She criticized current Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, the state's chief elections officer, for his roles in President Bush's re-election campaign and on behalf of ballot issues like last year's amendment banning gay marriage.

The race marks Ms. Brunner's first statewide run, but she served as deputy director and legislative lobbyist for Secretary of State Sherrod Brown in the late 1980s.

In 2000, she upset a Republican who'd been appointed to the county bench and then went on in 2002 to win a six-year term in her own right.

In addition to being chief elections officer, the secretary of state is keeper of incorporation and other business records and serves on the apportionment board that redraws legislative districts every 10 years.

Ms. Brunner said yesterday she opposes a proposed constitutional amendment slated for the Nov. 8 election that would strip the office she hopes to hold of its election oversight authority.

She also opposes a proposal to roll back campaign contribution limits.

Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy has been mentioned as another possible Democratic candidate. State Rep. Jim Trakas (R., Independence), Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Greg Hartmann, and possibly Ohio Superintendent of Insurance Ann Womer Benjamin are expected to vie for the Republican nomination.



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