A Franklin County, Ohio judge is abandoning the Republican Party and becoming a Democrat, claiming that as an African American woman she is disturbed by what the GOP stands for in 2021. Judge Kim A. Browne is the third Franklin County judge to make the switch from Republican to Democrat in the last two years, leaving few Republican judges left in the heavily Democrat leaning county.
Ohio judge switches parties
Franklin County is the most populous in Ohio and is the location Columbus, the state capital and most populous city in Ohio.
The county has fallen under solid Democrat control; in 2020 Democrats were victorious in every judicial race, defeating multiple Republican incumbents in the process.
Given the apparently bleak future for the GOP in Franklin County, there has been speculation surrounding the real motives of Kim Browne and her colleagues who have switched parties.
The judge herself claims that her future electoral chances have had nothing to do with her decision to leave the Republican Party.
According to her, the switch is purely motivated by her distaste for “what the GOP has come to stand for, tolerate, and encourage.”
She would not, however, point to any specific criticisms or concerns which are driving her away from the party, claiming that doing so would be a violation of judicial ethics.
A political move?
Josh Jaffe, who leads the Franklin County Republican Party, laughed off the idea of the desertions having anything to do with the principled stand which the judges claim.
If these defecting judges had any confidence in their own records and performance as public servants, he said, they would not have any need to protect their political futures by switching to the ascendant party.
Browne has held her own seat since 2002, winning convincing enough victories over Democrats in the three races in which she faced any opposition.
Regardless of her actual motive, Browne is surely aware that her 2020 reelection campaign would be her most difficult yet if she had stayed with the Republican Party.
The judge at least has an easily available excuse for her switch; implying that the desertion has become necessary due to her race may ingratiate her with her new party.
Whether it was a shrewd political play or an honest and principled stand, judge Browne has certainly improved her chances of reelection.