Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy and U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson urged fellow Republicans not to take time off from working to ensure victory in 2014.
"We have grown to think of odd election years as off-year elections. We can no longer take a year off," said Johnson, R-Ohio, during Monday's Belmont County Republican Party Lincoln Dinner at Undo's West.
In November, Kennedy, who served as the dinner's keynote speaker, unseated Democrat Yvette McGee Brown on the seven-member Ohio Supreme Court. However, Kennedy is up for re-election next year because McGee had been appointed to fill the seat when Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor won election to her post in 2010.
Photos by Casey Junkins
Getting an early start on the 2014 campaign season during the Monday Belmont County Republican Party Lincoln Dinner are, left, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith French and Justice Sharon Kennedy, both of whom will be on the ballot next year. View additional photos at cu.theintelligencer.net.
"I know Ohio's future rests with those who will work to preserve the Constitution," Kennedy said. "I cannot imagine an Ohio Supreme Court returning to the days of legislating from the bench."
Also up for election next year is Justice Judith French, who Gov. John Kasich recently appointed to fill another unexpired term. She was also on hand Monday.
"Once the governor passes a program that he wants, it is the Supreme Court that decides if it is lawful," French said, reminding attendees of the court's role in government.
Alhough Ohio judicial races are officially nonpartisan, six of the seven high court justices are now Republicans. Joining Kennedy, French and O'Connor on the GOP side are Justices Judith Lanzinger, Paul Pfeifer and Terrence O'Donnell. Only Justice William O'Neill represents the Democrats on this court.
County Party Chairman Kent Moore and executive committee member Al Davies said Republicans continue making gains in traditionally heavily Democratic Belmont County, citing Prosecutor Chris Berhalter and Sheriff Dave Lucas as examples.
"If you listen to the liberal media, they will tell you there is something wrong with the Republican party. We are strong in southeast Ohio," Davies said.
Johnson said President Abraham Lincoln led the United States through some of its most difficult times during the Civil War. Johnson added that being from Illinois is about the only thing President Barack Obama has in common with Lincoln.
"There is absolutely no comparison between Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln," Johnson said, drawing loud applause and cheers from the nearly 200 people in attendance.
During the evening, GOP members also inducted Robert E. Murray and Warner R. Moore into the Belmont County Republican Party Hall of Fame. Murray is founder and chief executive officer of Murray Energy, while Moore has served on local boards of education and township trustees and volunteered for the GOP for many years.