Justice O'Neill steps down to run for governor

Columbus (AP) - The lone Democrat on the Ohio Supreme Court says he's left the bench to join a crowded governor's race.Justice William O'Neill said Friday his departure was official as of midnight.

O'Neill had taken himself off cases before the Court but defended his decision to stay until Friday, saying he isn't officially a candidate until he files early next month.

Some Republican lawmakers tried to oust him early.

O'Neill said he's spending his first day off the court raising money, gathering petitions and preparing for the Ohio Democratic Party vetting process.

Five candidates, including O'Neill, are running in the May Democratic primary for governor.

Governor John Kasich on Thursday named Youngstown appeals court judge Mary DeGenaro to fill O'Neill's seat.

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