Cuyahoga County prosecutor’s race too close to call

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CLEVELAND-- Those voting in the Democratic primary in Cuyahoga County on Tuesday are selecting the next prosecutor, and it's a race influenced by two high-profile cases.

Current Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty is up against challenger Michael O'Malley. The winner will go on to the general election in November, but there is no Republican registered to seek the office.

As of midnight, with 50 percent of the precincts reporting, O'Malley was leading McGinty, 51,597 to 44,501.

McGinty's four-year record includes the elimination of politics and favoritism in the office, the aggressive targeting of habitual offenders and the creation of a task force that has given life to hundreds of old rape cases.

But in his first term, McGinty also had to deflect criticism over the handling of both the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice and the prosecution of Cleveland Police Officer Michael Brelo.

Brelo was found not guilty on manslaughter charges related to the shooting deaths of Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell after a 2012 police chase.

Then, a grand jury did not indict two police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Rice. The boy was confronted while holding an airsoft gun outside of a Cleveland recreation center in November 2014.

That case alone prompted calls for McGinty to remove himself from office.

O'Malley is a former assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor, who campaigned on a promise to restore lost confidence in the justice system.

He publicly stated he believes all excessive use of force cases should be handled by the Ohio Attorney General's Office.

Neither of them are running with the endorsement of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office.

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