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 December 20, 2023

GOP judge leaves Republican Party, blames Trump for departure

Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Leslie Ghiz, a former Republican, has announced her departure from the party, blaming former President Donald Trump for her decision.

Ghiz, who previously ran as a Republican for Cincinnati City Council and judge, sought the endorsement of the Hamilton County Democratic Party for her 2024 reelection campaign.

The change

However, the Democrats declined to endorse her without providing specific reasons. Ghiz withdrew her petition to run as a Democrat and is now contemplating running as an independent.

While Ghiz did not elaborate on the reasons behind her departure from the Republican Party, she acknowledged that Trump played a substantial role in her decision. She refrained from detailing her opinion of Trump, emphasizing that she has other pressing matters to focus on.

Ghiz initiated her political career in 2005, winning a seat on the Cincinnati City Council and serving until 2011.

In 2012, she was elected as a Common Pleas Court judge and secured reelection in 2018, describing her political stance as "middle of the road."

The consequences

The move away from the Republican Party could have notable implications for the party in a county increasingly leaning Democratic, where Democrats hold nearly all countywide offices, excluding prosecutor and engineer.

As of now, Ghiz is still listed as one of four Republican Common Pleas Court judges on the Hamilton County Republican Party website. Hamilton County GOP Chairman Russ Mock has refrained from commenting until after the partisan filing deadline on Wednesday.

While Ghiz contemplates running as an independent, the filing deadline for independents in the judicial race is March 18, providing her time to weigh her options.

The next steps

The development underscores the shifting dynamics within local politics and raises questions about the future landscape of political affiliations in Hamilton County.

Ghiz's decision to leave the Republican Party reflects a broader trend where individual perspectives on political figures, such as Trump, influence party affiliations, contributing to a nuanced political landscape.

While Ghiz navigates her options, the decision to consider running as an independent indicates a desire to find a political home that aligns with her evolving views.

The declining influence of the Republican Party in the county, where Democrats hold a majority of countywide offices, adds another layer of complexity to this political shift.

The final decision on whether to run as an independent and the reaction from voters will shape the narrative of Leslie Ghiz's political journey and, to some extent, may influence the trajectory of local politics in Hamilton County.

Written By:
Dillon Burroughs

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