COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court has restored Katie O’Neill, the daughter of a former justice, to the 2020 ballot for the state House. The decision Tuesday positions the Democrat to challenge a Republican Ohio House incumbent in heavily Democratic Athens County.
O’Neill, the daughter of former Justice Bill O’Neill, was disqualified by a unanimous vote of the county’s elections board in February. That decision followed a protest over the length of her residency in the district and related paperwork.
The decision had left second-term state Rep. Jay Edwards, a Nelsonville Republican, without a challenger in November.
The high court determined that O’Neill met all ballot requirements and properly established residency in Athens County before declaring her House candidacy and circulating her petitions. The justices said the elections board “abused its discretion and clearly disregarded applicable law.”
O’Neill is a graduate of Ohio University and Vermont Law School, with specialties in history, energy law and policy and environmental law. Her father sat on the Ohio Supreme Court from 2014 to 2018, when he unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for governor.
Edwards is a small business owner, realtor and property investor. He’s the House majority whip and was recently appointed to Speaker Larry Householder’s bipartisan task force focused on reviving Ohio’s economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.