Lucas Co. GOP event to honor chief justice


Ohio Supreme Court Justice Maureen O’Connor, a Republican who advocates nonpartisan judicial elections, will be honored Monday by the Lucas County Republican Party at the Toledo Club.

The party is holding a “Judicial Salute” to recognize Justice O’Connor and all of the Republican judges in the county.

“This is a salute to all the judges, and we’re very blessed because most of the voters — even in the city of Toledo — will vote for a Republican judge,” county GOP Chairman Jon Stainbrook said.

Proceeds from the event will go into the party’s judicial fund, which is used to support judicial candidates. Some of the money will help support Josh Lanzinger, who was appointed to the Toledo Municipal Court bench Sept. 11 by Gov. John Kasich and endorsed by the county Republicans.

Mr. Lanzinger, a former assistant attorney general and son of Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger, is seeking election to the judgeship Nov. 5, as are local attorneys Kenneth Phillips, also a Republican, and Gretchen DeBacker, a Democrat.

Republican Municipal Court Judge Amy Berling is unopposed for re-election Nov. 5.

Mr. Stainbrook said the party is expecting a good turnout of judges Monday, ranging from the municipal courts in Toledo and Sylvania, Lucas County Common Pleas Court, Ohio’s 6th District Court of Appeals, and the Ohio Supreme Court.

Justice O’Connor, who has advocated for judicial election reform, has said Ohio’s current system of nominating judicial candidates by partisan primary and choosing judges in nonpartisan general elections is inconsistent.

“Party affiliation has no place in judicial elections. Period,” she said during a speech in May.

Others argue that party affiliation gives voters more information about candidates.

Tickets for Monday’s event are $100 for the general reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and $250 for a private reception beginning at 5 p.m. Reservations are due by Saturday to 419-482-0506 or emailing

Along with Mr. Stainbrook, former Mayor Donna Owens, former Lucas County Republican Chairman Robert Reichert, former state Sen. Mark Wagoner, and Allan Block, chairman of Block Communications Inc., parent company of The Blade, are hosting the event.