Friday, December 15, 2017
News Roundup

Candidates qualify for November elections for Hillsborough, state judgeships

TAMPA — A circuit judge and two county judges drew opponents as the qualifying deadline for November judicial races passed at noon Friday. Most judges up for re-election in Hills­borough County did not draw opponents.

Circuit Judge Mark Wolfe will defend his Group 14 seat against former Florida House Speaker Johnnie Byrd Jr. Wolfe was appointed to the bench 12 years ago by former Gov. Jeb Bush.

County Judge Joelle Ann Ober, first elected to the bench in 1996, will defend her Group 3 seat against Tampa lawyer John A. Grant III.

County Judge Matthew Lucas, appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist in 2010, also will be challenged by attorney Nancy Jacobs in Group 12.

In Group 4, three women will compete for the county judgeship held by Christine K. Vogel of Plant City, who is not running for re-election. The candidates to replace her are lawyers Frances Maria Perrone, Barbara Twine and Lanell Williams-Yulee.

Williams-Yulee still faces a formal complaint pending with the state Supreme Court brought by the Florida Bar in 2010. A Bar grievance committee alleged violations of five rules during her campaign to replace County Judge Dick Greco Jr. She remains in good standing with the Bar.

County judges who had no opposition include Herbert Berkowitz in Group 2, Walter Heinrich in Group 5, Gaston Fernandez in Group 8, Richard Weis in Group 11 and Scott Farr in Group 15.

Circuit judges facing no challenge include: Paul Huey in Group 12, Cheryl Thomas in Group 16, Robert Foster Jr. in Group 25, Ronald Ficarrotta in Group 26, Bernard Silver in Group 32, Tracy Sheehan in Group 42, Kimberly Fernandez in Group 43 and Emily Peacock in Group 44.

State Attorney Mark Ober and Public Defender Julianne Holt also face no opposition.

John Barry can be reached at (813) 226-3383 or [email protected]

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