Editorial: For Franklin County offices: Sullivan, O’Shaughnessy, O’Brien

Three contested Franklin County offices are on the Nov. 3 ballot, and The Dispatch encourages voters to reelect the trio of incumbents: Treasurer Cheryl Brooks Sullivan, Clerk of Courts Maryellen O’Shaughnessy and Prosecutor Ron O’Brien...

The third contested race pits two longtime courthouse veterans. Prosecutor Ron O’Brien is being challenged for his seventh term — and an extension of his title as Franklin County’s longest-serving prosecutor — by former Appeals Court Judge Gary Tyack. 

O’Brien, 72, spent eight years as a Columbus city prosecutor before serving 11 years as city attorney and now 24 years as county prosecutor. As a rare Republican elected to local office, he readily works with others regardless of political stripes or their level of government to reach common goals. He teamed up with Democratic City Attorney Zach Klein to seek sentencing reform in the Ohio General Assembly and is working with U.S. Attorney David DeVillers to crack down on gun violence.

O’Brien is seen by some community members as reluctant to seek indictment of central Ohio police officers in the deaths of Black people. He has responded with a policy change to require cases in which police use deadly force to be investigated and prosecuted by outside agencies. 

Tyack, 74, a Democrat, retired in early 2019 after serving 24 years as a judge with the Franklin County Court of Appeals (10th District) and previously was a defense attorney for 11 years. His experience, while extensive, does not include any time prosecuting a criminal case, and his judicial service was not at the trial court level, where prosecutors must prove their cases.

Experience is again the differentiator in this race. O’Brien has been a good steward of the prosecutor’s office; Tyack does not make a compelling case that he is a better alternative.

The Dispatch endorses for reelection Franklin County Treasurer Cheryl Brooks Sullivan, Clerk of Courts Maryellen O’Shaughnessy and Prosecutor Ron O’Brien.

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