O’Neill says he’s leaving Ohio Supreme Court in January

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COLUMBUS (AP) – Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O’Neill says he will leave the court late next month after previously affirming that he plans to remain a candidate in the Democratic gubernatorial primary race.

O’Neill has told The Associated Press that he informed Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor on Friday morning that Jan. 26 will be his final day on the high court. The candidate-filing deadline for the gubernatorial primary is Feb. 7.

O’Neill’s statements about his candidacy and retirement have come amid efforts by the Republican-controlled Legislature to oust him from the court.

Lawmakers have said O’Neill is violating the Judicial Code of Conduct by running for another office while remaining on the bench. O’Neill argues he won’t be a candidate for purposes of the rule until he files the paperwork.

“In Ohio, you become a candidate by raising money or filing petitions,” said O’Neill. “I’ve done neither, so far. It’s time to get moving, so I figured January 26 is the day after our final session in Columbus.”

O’Neill said he plans to begin raising money for his candidacy, the day after he leaves the court.

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