Ohio Governor’s race preview: Bill O’Neill

Ohio Statehouse Newsroom

(WCMH) — William O’Neill grew up in Chagrin Falls, attended Ohio University, and from there went to war.

Three weeks later graduating he was on active duty and spent a year in Vietnam.

He came home with a bronze star. When asked about it, he says he was just doing his job and prefers to leave it at that.

With the war behind him, O’Neill returned to Ohio and got his first real job as a reporter on Channel 4 in Columbus.

Soon after he became a union organizer and when the union wanted to get its voice into politics they turned to O’Neil to run for Lt. Governor in 1974, as a 26-year-old.

O’Neill pulled in more than 125,000 votes but still came in third in the primary, Richard Celeste would go on to be the Democratic Party candidate for Lt. Governor and a few years later win the governorship himself.

Meanwhile, O’Neill went on to attend law school, get married, and become a judge.

After having kids, O’Neill lost his wife in a car accident while their children were still young.

He learned to raise them by himself.

Since then he has gone back to school and become a pediatric nurse.

Eventually, he ran for a seat on the Ohio Supreme Court and won it by only spending $4,000 of his own money.

Too old to run again for the Supreme Court, O’Neill is once more throwing his hat into the partisan political ring.

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