Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
Democratic candidate Jerry Buckler won the election to Scioto County Court of Common Pleas Domestic Relations Court Judge on Tuesday, defeating the sitting Republican judge Jay Willis and independent challenger J.B. Marshall, Jr. The unofficial vote count at the end of the evening was 11,312 for Buckler, 9,788 for Marshall, and 6,571 for Willis.
“I’m a little bit nervous right now, but I’m happy. I’ve got my my family, my friends, my parents, my supporters, everyone who worked so hard. I’m thrilled,” Buckler said.
The Democrat challenger, Buckler is a Lucasville resident who — in addition to his private practice of 16 years — is also a part-time city prosecutor and current member of the Valley School Board and Star Workshop Board and former teacher. He graduated from Valley in 1983 before going on to earn degrees from Rio Grande, Ohio University and Capital University Law School. He is also a former court magistrate in Pike County, but said he has always lived in Scioto County
“I want to change the way the court is running right now. The magistrate position is used too much. I think the judge needs to step up to the plate and do a lot more,” Buckler said.
He also wants to help expedite the court process.
“People are in court way too long, and when children are involved the parents are waiting on visiting kids, and just waiting and waiting, and we have to change that,” Buckler said.
The independent candidate J.B. Marshall has operated a private law practice in Portsmouth for 33 years. He finished second on Tuesday with 9,788 votes.
Willis is the current-sitting judge, appointed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich in February to complete the unexpired term left vacant by the retirement of former judge David Spears. A graduate of Portsmouth High School, Willis received a bachelor’s degree from Capital University and earned his juris doctorate from Capital University Law School. Since 1999, he has served as a magistrate for the Scioto County Court of Common Pleas Domestic Relations Division, and has presided over more than 7,000 domestic court cases. He is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association and the Scioto County Bar Association, and the Ohio Association of Magistrates (OAM). He has been a trustee on the OAM board since 2010.
Willis placed third in the race on Tuesday, with 6,571 votes. He could not be reached for comment following the election on Tuesday.
Buckler thanked both of his opponents for running a clean, friendly campaign.
“I wish them well, and I hope they will support me for a 6-year term,” he said.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org.