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Race for Franklin County Prosecutor Heats Up

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega Race for Franklin County Prosecutor Heats Up
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The Franklin County Republican Party (FCRP) announced this week its creation of ZeroExperienceZach.com, a website purposed to show City Council President and candidate for Franklin County Prosecutor Zach Klein’s supposed lack of criminal court experience for the job.

“Zero Experience Zach Klein has never tried a legal case in his life,” said Brad Sinnott, Franklin County Republican Central Committee Chairman and lawyer, in a press release. “Klein has zero experience facing down drug dealers, rapists, murderers, and other hardened criminals who prey on Franklin County families, and his longstanding political relationship with convicted Redflex felon John Raphael should give voters plenty of reason to reject Zero Experience Zach Klein this fall.”

Klein is running against Republican incumbent prosecutor Ron O’Brien this November, O’Brien’s first challenger in 16 years. Klein’s gained some legal experience as deputy chief of legal services for former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray and as a Special Assistant US Attorney.

The website features an unfortunate shot of Klein’s face photoshopped onto the bodies of a surgeon, a pilot and a plumber.

“Would you want a surgeon who had never performed an operation?” the site’s header asks, scrolling through each picture. “Why would you want a prosecutor who has never handled a court case?”

Klein’s campaign manager, Jayme Staley, compared the site to strategies used by the Trump campaign on the national scene.

“Ron O’Brien learned his trickle-down negative campaign tactics from his good friend Donald Trump,” Staley said. “Just as Trump resorted to name calling his opponents, like ‘Little’ Marco Rubio and ‘Lyin’ Ted Cruz, O’Brien is using childish antics too.”

The Klein campaign retaliated by releasing its own statement accusing O’Brien of having the “wrong kind of experience.” In it O’Brien is accused of giving a “free pass to his republican friends who have allowed crooked charter school operators to go unchecked” and allowing those same republican friends “to do political work on state time” and never filing charges.

“Ron O’Brien loves to tout his extensive legal experience but he has repeatedly failed to get justice for those that need it most,” Staley said. “In the absence of real issues, O’Brien is desperate because he has years and years of the wrong kind of experience.”

Klein and O’Brien have similar goals within the heroin epidemic, to rely more on rehabilitation for non-violent offenders rather than resorting to prison time. Klein also prioritizes body cameras for cops and police officer accountability. O’Brien’s campaign focuses on his successes and the programs he’s already worked with in areas like human trafficking and criminal justice reform.

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