CLEVELAND– Former Cuyahoga County assistant prosecutor Michael O’Malley knew when he decided to run for county prosecutor that he would have a difficult time unseating an incumbent, particularly when that incumbent is as well known and as well established as Timothy McGinty.
But as the votes were counted late into the night and the degree of separation grew, O’Malley realized just how much voters in Cuyahoga County wanted change.
O’Malley and McGinty faced off the in the Democratic primary on Tuesday. There is no Republican candidate seeking the office in November.
O’Malley’s campaign manager, Ryan Miday, acknowledged they knew to expect a close race. But after all was said and done the race wasn’t close at all.
Miday said voters overwhelmingly decided this office needs a new direction. They want someone who will listen to their concerns, will work cooperatively with law enforcement partners, and will pursue justice fairly and impartially.
McGinty served only one tumultuous term as Cuyahoga County’s prosecutor.
It was a term in which he found himself dodging criticism over several high-profile cases, including the police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice and the prosecution of Cleveland Police Officer Michael Brelo.
“The community was very upset over the actions of prosecutor McGinty and Michael O’Malley seized the opportunity, stepped into the void, and the community responded favorably,” said Miday
In accepting his victory, O’Malley thanked the people who, in his words, “had the courage to step out with me to win what seemed to be a very unwinnable position several months ago.”
“I truly believe that over the last three or four weeks people started hearing the message that my campaign team was putting forth, and it was that this county needs to rebuild confidence in the criminal justice system and they need an individual who is willing to work to do that,” O’Malley said.
“They need an individual who is willing to go out and meet with individuals and restore some type of confidence in that office and I’m that individual and I will be doing that. I will be meeting with people I will be talking with people on the streets . It’s going to take a large effort to bring this system back, but I am willing to work with the common pleas judges, the public defenders, all the people who thought they were perhaps bullied in the past will have a partner, and that partner will be me and my team,” said O’Malley.
“Michael proved in his campaign, evidenced by the numbers of voters who cast their vote for him, that they are open and willing to work with him,” Miday said.
McGinty released the following statement:
“The voters have spoken, and I want to congratulate Mike O’Malley on his victory.
“I wish him nothing but the best. I love the Prosecutor’s Office, and I am proud of all that we have accomplished and of all the outstanding dedicated professionals who work there. I will do everything I can to help Mike, the Office and the County succeed.
“I want to thank my family and my supporters. It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve the people of Cuyahoga County in elected office for the past 24 years.”