Three Supreme Court justices and 17 district court of appeal judges have filed for merit retention in the fall statewide judicial elections.
In addition, there are 17 contested circuit judge races around the state, while 134 circuit judgeships were decided without an election. Most of those involved incumbents who filed for reelection and drew no opponents. There also are 24 contested county court races after the June 12 filing deadline, while 93 county judges--again, mostly incumbents--were elected or reelected without opposition.
(Circuit court information came from the Secretary of State's office. County judge race information came from the Supreme Court and a Web site and e-mail survey of county supervisors of elections offices.)
Elections for contested trial court seats will be on the September 5 primary ballot, and any runoffs will be decided in the November 7 general election. The merit retention elections for the appellate bench will be on the November ballot.
There will almost certainly be more contested trial court races this fall. The legislature approved 55 new judgeships this year; 35 circuit judgeships and 20 on the county bench. All will be elected and qualifying for those races is July 17-21. Traditionally, such open seats are more likely to draw contested elections than seats occupied by incumbents.
It's also the largest number of new judgeships created and filled by election since at least 1973, when the court system was overhuled.
Here's a list of those who will appear on the November merit retention ballot:
* Supreme Court--Chief Justice Barbara J. Pariente, Chief Justice-elect R. Fred Lewis, and Justice Peggy A. Quince.
* First District Court of Appeal-Judges Edwin B. Browning, Jr., Bradford L. Thomas, and Peter D. Webster.
* Second District Court of Appeal--Judges Darryl C. Casanueva, Charles A. Davis, Edward LaRose, E.J. Salcines, and Thomas E. Stringer, Sr.
* Third District Court of Appeal--Judges Angel A. Cortinas, Leslie B. Rothenberg, and Richard J. Suarez.
* Fourth District Court of Appeal--Judges Bobby W. Gunther, Fred A. Hazouri, Larry A. Klein, Barry J. Stone, and Carole Y. Taylor.
* Fifth District Court of Appeal--Judge Emerson R. Thompson, Jr.
Contested Circuit Races
Here's a list of contested circuit court races:
* First Circuit--Group 15, Terry Ketchel, Dixie Dan Powell, Mike Schofield, and Michael T. Webster.
* Fifth Circuit--Group 7, Michelle T. Morley and Scott Wynn.
* Sixth Circuit--Group 9, Mary Handsel, Christine "Chris" Helinger, and Glenn Martin; Group 32, LeAnne Lake, Mark Schleben, and Pat Siracusa.