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Judicial Campaigns and Elections: Ohio

Campaign Conduct

According to Canon 4 of Ohio's code of judicial conduct, judicial candidates shall not:
  • Make any statement that would reasonably be expected to affect the outcome or impair the fairness of a matter pending or impending in any court.
  • In connection with cases, controversies, or issues that are likely to come before the court, make pledges, promises, or commitments that are inconsistent with the impartial performance of the adjudicative duties of the office.
  • Knowingly misrepresent the identity, qualifications, present position, or other fact concerning themselves or an opponent.
  • Personally solicit or receive campaign funds.

There are two exceptions to the prohibition against personally soliciting or receiving campaign funds that allow candidates to (1) make a general request for campaign contributions when speaking to an audience of twenty or more individuals, and (2) sign letters soliciting campaign contributions if the letters are for distribution by the candidate’s campaign committee and direct contributions to be sent to the campaign committee. The time period for raising and receiving campaign funds is limited to 120 days prior to the election and 120 days after the general election.

Even though judicial elections are nominally nonpartisan, judicial candidates may reference their party affiliation in campaign advertising.