August 15, 2002 Regular News Candidates file to run for nine new judgeships Candidates file to run for nine new judgeships The number of contested circuit judge races rose significantly with the close of qualifying July 26 for nine new legislatively created seats.Eight of the new seats drew at least three candidates, while in the ninth, in the 10th Circuit, a state senator filed unopposed for the new post.Pursuant to a new state law, qualifying for the existing judgeships where the terms end at the end of the year was held in May. That law was intended to give incumbent judges who face last minute challenges more time to arrange their dockets for campaigning.But this year’s legislative session failed to produce a budget agreement for the 2002-03 budget until a special session in May. Part of that budget authorized 18 new circuit judges, with nine being chosen by voters and nine appointed by the governor. Since it was too late for qualifying for those nine elected seats during May, the legislature specified that qualifying would be held with other state races in July.The second round of qualifying for the nine new seats was unlike the May qualifying. Then there were 246 seats up and only 26 — mostly seats being vacated by incumbents — drew more than one candidate. In most of the uncontested seats, incumbents filed for re-election.With the new seats, that means voters will have a total of 34 circuit races on the September 10 primary ballot. Any runoffs will be decided on the November general election ballot.(There are no contested circuit judgeships in the First, Second, Third, 10th, 14th, 16th, 18th, or 20th circuits. Information on contested county judge races is not collected statewide, but is available from local supervisors of elections offices. A list of the other contested circuit races as well as those elected without opposition was in the June 1 News. )Filing unopposed for the new 10th Circuit seat is Sen. John Laurent, R-Bartow, a former member of the House Judiciary Committee and a current member of the joint House-Senate panel overseeing the constitutionally mandated increase in Article V funding for the state trial courts.Contesting the other races are:• In the Sixth Circuit, Group 41, Linda Allan, Bryon A. Lorrier, Malinda Ottinger, and William L. “Bill” Vinson.• In the Seventh Circuit, Group 24, David A. Burt, Terry LaRue, Larry Nixon, and Henry T. Swann III.• In the Eighth Circuit, Group 12, David A. Glant, Terry Kann, and Gil Schaffnit.• In the Ninth Circuit, Group 37, Mark C. Bender, Jim Henson, and Norberto Katz.• In the 12th Circuit, Group 19, Preston DeVilbiss, Jr., Cynthia Evers, Diana Moreland, and Ed Nicholas.• In the 13th Circuit, Group 37, Ray Brooks, Woody Isom, Monica L. Sierra, and Brad Souders.• In the 15th Circuit, Group 34, John P. Marinelli, William J. McAfee, Karen M. Miller, and Darren D. Shull.• In the 17th Circuit, Group 52, Michael G. Kaplan, Andrew “Andy” Salvage, Perry Eugene Thurston, Jr., and Jack Tuter.