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2020 Primary: Fanon Rucker And Gabe Davis Vying To Unseat Hamilton County Prosecutor

From left: Fanon Rucker (D), incumbent Joe Deters (R) and Gabe Davis (D).

Two Democratic candidates are looking to unseat Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters in the fall. Former federal prosecutor Gabe Davis announced his candidacy in June and former Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge Fanon Rucker joined the race in October.

Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss their campaigns are Fanon Rucker and Gabe Davis.

Retired Judge Fanon Rucker is a trustee for the Murray & Agnes Seasongood Good Government Foundation. The Seasongood Foundation provides annual support to WVXU’s local government reporting.

Interview Highlights:

On Changes That Need To Be Made

Both Retired Judge Fanon Rucker and Former Federal Prosecutor Gabe Davis say the prosecutor's office needs to diverse its staff to better reflect the county and that the prosecutor should work full time to address the demands of the job.

"How can it be justified for the prosecutor - who is over the common pleas court and juvenile court and has prosecutor in this division - to be part time?" Rucker asks. "When so many components are necessary to work together that the community is being best served with a part-time prosecutor. It can't happen."

Davis says a fresh perspective could help diversify the office and bring new strategies to the decision-making process.

"Giving the county what it deserves here," Davis says. "But also leaning into what other states, what other jurisdictions are doing in respect to reform but also innovation and best practices."

Their Message To Deters: Time's Up

Judge Fanon Rucker says his message to Deters is the same as his pitch to voters on why they should elect him. "We know that justice is written in our preamble. Justice is in the very fabric of everything that we do," Rucker says. "It's supposed to be the foundation of the justice system. The message is we are going to have a system that actually reflects those standards of justice that the Ohio Supreme Court says are the standards."

"His time is up," Davis says. "He's been around for a while and we have to have someone who now is prepared to be a prosecutor for this time, 2020." Davis describes himself as the change candidate and says issues like overcrowded jails because of mass incarceration, shootings that are killing young people, and declining trust in the criminal justice system need a new pair of eyes looking at them.

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Michael Monks brings a broad range of experience to WVXU-FM as the host of Cincinnati Edition, Cincinnati Public Radio's weekday news and information talk show.