Calling it with a laugh "the worst kept secret in the county's political history," Judge Fanon Rucker is officially launching his bid to be Hamilton County's next prosecutor.
"I am running to ensure that our system is as responsive as possible to the interests and needs of the victims, the defendants, and most importantly, the community that it serves and are impacted by its policies," Rucker, a Democrat, said in announcing he'll seek the seat currently held by Joe Deters, a Republican.
Rucker was appointed to the Hamilton County Municipal Court in 2007. He's served as a prosecutor, civil rights attorney and prosecutor.
"We will enact policies that will focus on the aggressive prosecution of violent crimes, provide continued support of victims after the court process, staff an office with those focused on the foundation principles of justice and reduce overcrowding in our jails and prisons," he said.
Additionally, his platform includes a policy of recommending own recognizance bonds for non-violent offenders; creating a conviction integrity unit; creating or supporting a re-entry court for people returning to society; recruiting and retaining quality attorneys while actively seeking "to employ attorneys and other staff that reflect the diversity of our community."
If elected, Rucker says his office would not seek the death penalty. He cites the cost of conducting such cases and incarcerating people on death row, along with the number of people who've been exonerated or found to be innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted.
As for the timing, Rucker says the pairing with the upcoming presidential election was ideal. He says he's seen the system from the inside being on the bench and he's ready to make a difference from the outside.
Before becoming a judge, Rucker ran against Deters for the prosecutor position in 2004 as a write-in candidate. "This will be a rematch of epic proportions in Hamilton County," he says with a smile.
Meanwhile, Rucker isn't Deters only opponent. Fellow Democrat and former federal prosecutor Gabe Davis announced his candidacy in June. Though he's never run for public office before, Davis tells WVXU he doesn't intend to step aside for Rucker.
"Anyone can run, but I am confident of our campaign and I have been moving forward," Davis said. "We live in a democracy and people are hungering for new leadership."
The Good Government Group, a political consulting firm headed by former U.S. Rep. Steve Driehaus, is running Davis' campaign.