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Judicial candidates ink 'clean campaign' vow



Published: Thu, April 20, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



An appellate court judge said he's already running a clean campaign.

By JEFF ORTEGA

VINDICATOR CORRESPONDENT

COLUMBUS -- Four of the six candidates running for seats on the Ohio Supreme Court this year have signed a "clean campaign" pledge, the Ohio State Bar Association said.

Republican Justice Terrence O'Donnell of Rocky River, who is seeking a six-year term in November on the high court, as well as 3rd District Appeals Judge Robert Cupp, a Lima Republican, signed the pledge, the bar association said.

Judge Cupp is running for a six-year term in the seat being vacated by retiring Democratic Justice Alice Robie Resnick of Toledo.

Justice O'Donnell, who was appointed to the high court in 2003 and elected to finish the final two years of an unexpired six-year term in 2004, and Judge Cupp are unopposed in the May 2 Republican primary election.

Also, Ben Espy, a Columbus attorney and former state senator, and Judge Peter M. Sikora of Cleveland, who presides over Cuyahoga County juvenile court, both Democrats vying in the May Democratic primary for the seat held by Justice Resnick, have signed the pledge, the bar association said.

Two didn't sign

The only candidates who haven't signed are Judge William O'Neill of the Warren-based 11th District Court of Appeals and Judge A.J. Wagner of Montgomery County Common Pleas Court, the bar association said.

Judges O'Neill and Wagner are Democrats vying in the May primary to challenge Justice O'Donnell in the November general election.

The bar association said the pledge asks candidates to take personal responsibility for their campaign advertisements or statements they or their campaign committees make.

The state bar said the pledge also asks candidates to disavow ads that "impugn the integrity of the judicial system or the integrity of a candidate for Supreme Court."

Judge O'Neill said Wednesday he will run a clean campaign.

"Therefore, I don't need anyone to tell me how to run a clean campaign; I run a clean campaign," he said.

Judge Wagner said he signed an agreement he amended that would still allow him to talk about issues he thinks are important. But the judge said the bar association rejected his proposed agreement.

"I think it's important that voters hear the truth, and the truth is vitally important in a democratic process," Judge Wagner said. Espy and Judge Wagner are endorsed by the Ohio Democratic Party.




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