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JP Election Brief: Florida gets ready as Alabama wraps up (and more!)

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Portal:Judicial elections

April 26, 2012

by: State Court Staff

Every Thursday, Judgepedia's State Court Staff examines events in the world of judicial elections across the nation. Make sure to use Judgepedia's Election Central the rest of the week as a hub for all your judicial election needs.
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Washington Supreme Court race


Richard Sanders has announced his candidacy for Position 9 on the Washington State Supreme Court, the seat currently held by Justice Tom Chambers that will be left vacant when Chambers retires later this year.[1] Sanders will face Bruce Hilyer, John Ladenburg, and Sheryl McCloud in Washington's non-partisan primary election on August 7, 2012.[2] If any one candidate receives over 50% of the vote, that candidate will be the new justice. If no candidate receives over 50% of the vote, the top two vote recipients will face each other in a runoff in the general election on November 6, 2012.[3]

Sanders's candidacy for a position on the state's highest court is of particular interest because it is a position he has held before. He served as a Washington Supreme Court justice from 1995 to 2010, when he was defeated by a narrow margin in his bid for reelection by current Justice Charlie Wiggins, earning 49.66% of the vote to Wiggins's 50.34%.[4] It remains to be seen whether Sanders's libertarian-leaning platform of protection of the individual rights of private citizens will appeal to the state's voters this time around.[5]

To learn more about Sanders' 2010 reelection race, read: Wiggins pulls ahead in close Supreme Court race, November 12, 2010.

In the News

Primary runoff results

In the last week, primary runoff elections were held in Alabama and Louisiana.


This Tuesday, April 24, Alabama held its primary runoff election. In races where no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the race automatically goes to a runoff. There, the top two contenders compete in a fresh election. Five such races took place on Tuesday; four for the Circuit Court and one District Court. Below are the results.

In the Democratic primary, four candidates competed for Place 9. Tamara Harris Johnson received the highest percentage of votes in the primary, winning 41.79%. The results were reversed in the runoff election, when Jim Hughey III received 58% of the vote. Hughey will compete against Bobby Lott in November's general election. [6]

Three candidates competed in the Republican primary to see who will succeed P.B. McLauchlin, Jr.. Winning 69.8% of the vote, William H. Fillmore emerged the victor this week. He is unopposed in the general election. [7]

On Monroe County's Circuit Court, incumbent Dawn Wiggins Hare was defeated in the primary and primary runoff elections by challenger Jack B. Weaver. Weaver will run unopposed in November. [8]

Three candidates competed in Democratic primary in March. In that race and the primary runoff, Adrian D. Johnson won a majority of votes. He will run unopposed in November. [9]

In the primary for Place 3, three candidates competed as Republicans. Linda F. Coats took the majority of votes at 48.4%. On Tuesday, Christopher M. Messervy won the election with 61.5% of the vote. He will run unopposed in the general election, almost assuring his election to the court. [10]

For more information about the Alabama judicial races, visit: Alabama judicial elections, 2012 - Races by County.


On Saturday, April 21, a runoff election was for one judicial seat was held in Louisiana. That occurred in Terrebonne Parish, for its Justice Court. The winner of the vacant seat was George C. Doescher, a local business owner. He defeated Cathy LeBoeuf, winning 66.25% of the vote. Doescher is now the Justice of the Peace for Ward 6 in Terrebonne Parish. [11]

For more information on the Louisiana elections, visit: Louisiana judicial elections, 2012.

Florida filing deadline highlights races


Friday, April 20, was the deadline for Florida judicial candidates to file for the election. Most of those filed are incumbent judges who will run unopposed in the general election on Nov. 6, 2012. For races with more than two candidates, there will be a primary on Aug. 14.

Following are a few of the contested Circuit Court races that will appear on the ballot:

First Circuit

Second Circuit

Third Circuit

Fourth Circuit

Sixth Circuit

Ninth Circuit

Tenth Circuit

Eleventh Circuit


In order to keep this the Election "Brief", we'll stop there for now. For the rest of the Circuit Court races you can check out: Florida judicial elections, 2012 - Circuit Court.

State’s appeal requests of voter ID law turned down by appellate courts


Last week the Wisconsin Supreme Court turned down an appeal by the state of Wisconsin that asked the injunction on the new voter ID law be lifted. [13] This week the Wisconsin 2nd District Court of Appeals refused to hear the appeal because Dane County Circuit Judge David Flanagan has not yet made a decision in the case. This is the second time in two weeks that the state’s request has been denied. [14]

Judge Flanagan was responsible for a ruling last month which created a temporary injunction preventing the enforcement of the state photo identification law.[15] Flanagan has also scheduled a briefing for the 26th that will extend the case several weeks beyond the upcoming recall election involving Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four senators. [16]

In a different ruling last month, Judge Richard Niess created a separate permanent injunction on the voter ID law. The state's appeal for this case is still pending.[17]

For more background on this case, read: Injunctions bar enforcement of voter ID law in April election, March 12, 2012.

Indiana candidates file suit for more info


Five candidates in Indiana's upcoming elections are asking counties to provide more voter information than in the past.[18][19] The Marion County Election Board recently adopted a rule allowing the public to obtain voter names, addresses, and voting districts. Five candidates, who are running for office without the party endorsement, are hoping for much more.[18] They want to aid their campaigns by obtaining additional information, including the voting history of citizens. One of the five candidates is Marion County Superior Court candidate Greg Bowes. [19]

The request for additional information was initially denied by Marion County Circuit Court judge Louis F. Rosenberg;, though at that time, he did grant a request by the Board of Voter Registration that the case be moved to another county. This decision will delay future proceedings.[19] Though a ruling would not effect this election cycle, the plaintiffs plan to press on in hopes of a finding in their favor, believing it would benefit candidates running without the endorsement of their parties in future elections.[18]

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  1. Supreme Court of Washington Blog, "Richard Sanders to attempt return to Supreme Court," March 22, 2012
  2. Voting for, Washington Supreme Court
  3. Judicial selection in Washington
  4. Return Richard Sanders to the Supreme Court campaign website
  5. Ruminations Blog, Washington Supreme Court, March 26, 2012
  6. The Birmingham News, "Jim Hughey III wins Democratic primary runoff for Jefferson County Circuit Court Place 9," April 24, 2012
  7. The Southeast Sun, "Filmore, Michalic, Strickland win in Dale County primary election runoff," April 25, 2012
  8. The Press-Register, "Jack Weaver tops Dawn Hare in 35th judicial circuit race," April 24, 2012
  9., "Alabama Runoff Results," April 24, 2012
  10. The Huntsville Times, "Chris Messervy wins Madison County District Court judge runoff over Linda Coats," April 24, 2012
  11. Louisiana Secretary of State, Terrebonne Parish Unofficial Election Results
  12. Florida Division of Elections: 2012 Candidate Listing
  13. ‘’ Bloomberg News,’’ “Wisconsin Top Court Declines to Hear Voter-ID Ruling Appeals,” April 16, 2012
  14. ‘’,’’ “Wis. appeals court won't hear voter ID case,” April 25, 2012
  15. Wisconsin State Journal, "Judge grants temporary injunction barring enforcement of voter ID law in April election," March 6, 2012
  16. The Associated Press, "Judge says Wisconsin voter ID case won't be resolved before recalls," April 19, 2012
  17. The Associated Press, "2nd Wisconsin judge strikes down state's voter identification law," March 12, 2012
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 The Indianapolis Star, "Candidates want more than basic voter info," April 21, 2012
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 The Daily Political, "Indiana Candidates Wants Access to More Voter Data," April 22, 2012