Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Former prosecutor wins judicial seat, along with three incumbents

TAMPA — Hillsborough voters made former prosecutor Frances Maria Perrone a new County Court judge Tuesday and returned two incumbent County Court judges to the bench.

In the only Hillsborough Circuit Court race, voters gave Judge Mark Wolfe another six years, despite the statewide name recognition of his opponent, former Republican state House Speaker Johnnie Byrd.

Armed with a $100,000 campaign fund — more than any other candidate for County Court — Perrone, 38, won the open Group 4 judicial seat formerly held by Judge Christine K. Vogel, who did not run for re-election.

She defeated attorneys Barbara Twine, 59 — who raised nearly $80,000 — and Lanell Williams-Yulee, 47. The three rivals offered voters deep experience in the law.

Perrone, a Tampa native, is a criminal defense attorney for the Tison Law Group. From 2000 to 2005, she worked as a prosecutor in Hillsborough County. She served as lead trial attorney of a felony division and as the director of County Court. She has served as lead trial attorney in more than 85 jury trials.

The most fractious County Court race ended with voters choosing incumbent Ann Ober, 55, over attorney John Grant III, 43, in Group 3. Ober has been a County Court judge since her first election in 1996.

Both candidates were former prosecutors.

In an unusual move for typically sedate judges' races, Ober sent out mailers during the campaign reminding voters that Grant had three DUI arrests in his past. She also accused him of lying on a judicial nominating form.

Throughout, Grant characterized the arrests as regrettable youthful mistakes and cited his endorsements by conservative groups that included the National Rifle Association and the Family Defense Fund.

Ober said Tuesday night she was so anxious about the election that she stayed home with her mother and took an Alka-Seltzer when she learned she won. She had been concerned about Grant's strong political ties in Tampa — Grant's father is a former state senator and his brother is a state representative.

"I'm happy for very informed voters," she said.

Voters also returned incumbent County Court Judge Matt Lucas, 38, to the bench in Group 12. He was appointed to County Court by former Gov. Charlie Crist in 2010.

In this, his first election, Lucas defeated attorney Nancy Jacobs, 51. Each had a campaign fund that exceeded $80,000.

The County Court judges each make $134,280.

In the one Circuit Court race, Group 14, the challenger, Johnnie Byrd, 61, was widely known for his lively, controversial reign as state House Speaker in the early 2000s. But incumbent Judge Mark Wolfe, 56, the winner, has served on the bench in Hillsborough for 12 years.

Wolfe was appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush to the Hillsborough County Court in 2000, handling primarily domestic violence and DUI matters. He was then elevated by Bush to the Circuit Court in 2004.

The job pays $142,178.

John Barry can be reached at (813) 226-3383 or jbarry@tampabay.com.

Former prosecutor wins judicial seat, along with three incumbents 08/14/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 12:33am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Eckerd Kids: Teens in group foster homes must be allowed to keep phones

    News

    TAMPA — For many teens still reeling from being taken into foster care, a cell phone is a lifeline, child advocates say.

    Eckerd Kids, the agency that runs child welfare in Tampa Bay, will in January require agencies that run group foster homes to allow children to use cell phones. Some group homes are concerned that children may use phones for unathorized contract with their parents or other adults or to post pictures of other foster children on social media
  2. Hillsborough Democrats call Confederate monument vote a continuation of white supremacy

    Blogs

    TAMPA — Two days after Hillsborough County commissioners decided not to touch a Confederate monument in downtown Tampa, Hillsborough County Democrats have decided to weigh in.

    On Friday afternoon, Hillsborough County Democrats decried a vote by the county commission not to remove the Confederate monument in downtown Tampa.
  3. For starters: Ramus to DL, Peterson back, no further moves

    Blogs

    We were expecting a flurry of roster moves this afternoon and we got one. OF Colby Ramus is on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to June 19 with left hip tendinitis.

    Colby Ramus is on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to June 19 with left hip tendinitis.
  4. Editorial: Failure to invest in transit means fewer HART routes

    Editorials

    It was simple economics that forced HART, Hillsborough County's mass transit agency, to cut its bus routes. The agency will focus its resources on the more crowded urban core, limiting service in the suburbs in an effort to get more bang for the buck. These are the hard choices communities must make when they refuse to …

    Hillsborough Area Regional Transit is cutting bus routes from 41 to 34. Those in more rural areas will find it harder to catch a bus.
  5. Editorial: Senate bill sacrifices health care for tax cuts

    Editorials

    No wonder Senate Republicans drafted their health care legislation in secret. Beneath the surface, it looks no better than the House version that even President Donald Trump has called mean. This remains a massive tax cut for the wealthy at the expense of the poor, the middle class and the elderly, and it would cost …

    No wonder Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, above, drafted their health care legislation in secret. Beneath the surface, it looks no better than the House version that even President Donald Trump has called mean.