Anthony J. Celebrezze Jr.

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Anthony J. Celebrezze Jr.
File:Anthony J. Celebrezze Jr.jpg
Attorney General of Ohio
In office
January 10, 1983 – January 6, 1991
Governor Dick Celeste
Preceded by William J. Brown
Succeeded by Lee Fisher
46th Ohio Secretary of State
In office
January 8, 1979 – January 12, 1983
Governor James A. Rhodes
Preceded by Ted W. Brown
Succeeded by Sherrod Brown
Member of the Ohio Senate
from the 25th district
In office
January 3, 1975-December 31, 1978
Preceded by Paul Matia
Succeeded by Paul Matia
Personal details
Born September 8, 1941
Cleveland, Ohio
Died July 4, 2003(2003-07-04) (aged 61)
De Graff, Ohio
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Louisa
Children Anthony J. III, Catherine,
Charles, David,
Maria (Celebrezze) McBride
Alma mater United States Naval Academy
Cleveland–Marshall College of Law (Juris Doctor)
Occupation politician, attorney
Religion Catholic

Anthony Joseph "Tony" Celebrezze Jr. (September 8, 1941 – July 4, 2003) was an American politician of the Democratic party, who served as Ohio Attorney General, Ohio Secretary of State and an Ohio State Senator. He was the son of Anthony J. Celebrezze Sr.

Early life and education

Celebrezze was born to Anthony Celebrezze and Anne M. Celebrezze in 1941. He was the oldest of three, along with sisters Jean Ann (Celebrezze) Porto, and Susan Marie (Celebrezze) Sullivan.

Celebrezze graduated from John Marshall High School in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1963, he graduated from the United States Naval Academy.[1] He served in the United States Navy for five years and was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal. In 1974, Celebrezze was awarded a Juris Doctor degree from Cleveland State University.

Political career

Ohio state senator

Celebrezze was elected an Ohio state senator in 1974. While in the Ohio General Assembly, he was known for his honesty and fair dealing. In 1978, Celebrezze defeated incumbent Republican Ted W. Brown in the election for Ohio Secretary of State. He served as Ohio secretary of state from 1979 to 1983.

Attorney general

In 1982, Celebrezze ran for Ohio Attorney General, facing off against by Republican Charles R. Saxbe, a member of the Ohio House of Representatives. Both were the sons of former Presidential Cabinet members with good name recognition. He would beat Saxbe by a margin of nearly two-to-one (2,036,243 to 1,203,797).[2]

Celebrezze easily won re-election in 1986 by defeating Barry Levey, 1,821,587 to 1,222,102.[3] While serving as attorney general, Celebrezze fought a legal battle against the United States Department of Energy over the nuclear and chemical pollution at the Fernald nuclear weapons plant, which for years had been kept secret under the disguise of the Fernald Feed Materials Production Center. The legal victory gave the Ohio state government the right to regulate the clean-up of the site.

Run for governor

In 1990, Celebrezze ran for governor to replace Richard F. Celeste, who was barred from running for a third consecutive term due to term limits. For lieutenant governor, Celebrezze chose Eugene Branstool, an Ohio state senator who was a mid-state farmer from Utica, Ohio. The pair easily won the Democratic primary over Michael Hugh Lord and Judy Wynn Parker (683,932 to 131,564).[4]

For the general election, Celebrezze faced a formidable Republican foe, George Voinovich, the popular out-going Cleveland Mayor. Voinovich's running mate was Mike DeWine, a U.S. Congressman from Cedarville, Ohio. Celebrezze lost in a landslide (1,938,103 to 1,539,416).[5] Some analysts attribute his loss, in part, to Celebrezze's much-criticized switch from his long-held pro-life views to a pro-choice position. However, the combination of Voinovich and DeWine was balanced better geographically, whereby Voinovich took the northeast Ohio votes from Celebrezze's natural base and DeWine adding the votes from down-state urban areas in the southeast such as Greater Dayton and Greater Cincinnati.

After politics

Celebrezze was inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame in 1998.[6] In April 2001, Celebrezze joined Kegler Brown Hill & Ritter, a law firm based in Columbus, Ohio.[7]

Personal life

Celebrezze and his wife, the former Louisa Godwin, had five children: Anthony J. III, Catherine, Charles, David, and Maria (Celebrezze) McBride.

Celebrezze died on July 4, 2003, of a heart attack after finishing third in a Dwarf Car auto race at Shadybowl Speedway in De Graff, Ohio.[8]

Celebrezze's cousins were former Ohio Chief Justice Frank Celebrezze Jr. and former Ohio Supreme Court Judge James Celebrezze. Celebrezze was the father of Anthony J. Celebrezze III and the cousin of Ohio appeals court judge Frank D. Celebrezze, III. His uncle was Frank D. Celebrezze, Sr..

See also


  2. Ohio Secretary of State Election Results General Election Overview: November 2, 1982 (accessed February 14, 2010)
  3. Ohio Secretary of State Election Results General Election Overview: November 4, 1986 (accessed February 15, 2010)
  4. Ohio Secretary of State Election Results Democratic Primary: May 8, 1990 (accessed February 15, 2010)
  5. Ohio Secretary of State Election Results General Election: November 6, 1990 (accessed February 15, 2010)
  6. "Ohio Veteran's Hall of Fame, Class of 1998". Ohio Department of Veterans Services. Retrieved 2012-01-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Celebrezze joining Kegler Brown Business First of Columbus, April 10, 2001 (Accessed January 5, 2010)
  8. Congressional Record
Legal offices
Preceded by
Ted W. Brown
Ohio Secretary of State
1979 – 1983
Succeeded by
Sherrod Brown
Preceded by
William J. Brown
Attorney General of Ohio
1983 – 1991
Succeeded by
Lee Fisher
Party political offices
Preceded by
Dick Celeste
Democratic Party nominee for Governor of Ohio
Succeeded by
Rob Burch