Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ten candidates vying for four spots on Hillsborough Circuit Court bench

TAMPA — The lines have been drawn in a series of contested judicial elections in Hillsborough County — and it appears that voters excited by the rare prospect of a challenge to a sitting judge will have to wait.

Circuit Judge Chet Tharpe, a longtime jurist known for presiding with pith and occasional severity over the courthouse's sex crimes division, had faced a challenge from defense attorney William Knight.

Knight had butted heads with Tharpe during the trial and sentencing of Ethel Anderson, an award-winning Riverview schoolteacher who in September was found guilty of performing oral sex and other lewd acts on a 12-year-old boy she tutored. Tharpe sentenced her to 38 years in prison.

Knight filed to run against Tharpe — an unusual move, as incumbent judges in Hillsborough County rarely face opponents when they come up for re-election.

But last month Knight withdrew from the race, leaving Tharpe unopposed. On Friday, he said he reconsidered his decision to run for personal reasons but declined to go into details.

His decision means that no incumbent judges will face a fight at the ballot box during the Aug. 26 election.

As the qualifying period for judicial candidates ended on Friday, however, there were four contested races for open Circuit Court seats:

Former chief assistant state attorney Karen Stanley is running against attorney Laura Ward.

Michael Scionti, a former prosecutor and state representative, is running against Michael J. Brannigan, an attorney who practices with a firm in Hernando County.

Former Tampa City Council member John Dingfelder is running against attorneys Carl Hinson and Barbara Twine Thomas.

Attorneys Robert Bauman, Constance Daniels and Melissa "Missy" Polo are running for the fourth open judge's seat.

Ten candidates vying for four spots on Hillsborough Circuit Court bench 05/02/14 [Last modified: Friday, May 2, 2014 11:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals


    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  2. No lack of issues facing St. Petersburg's six council candidates


    ST. PETERSBURG — The six candidates for City Council gathered Monday evening in the very chamber to which they aspire to serve.

    St. Petersburg City Council candidates (from left)  Brandi Gabbard and Barclay Harless in District 2; Jerick Johnston and incumbent council member Darden Rice in District 4; and Justin Bean and Gina Driscoll of District 6. All six candidates appeared at Monday night's forum at City Hall sponsored by the League of Women Voters. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

  3. Iraq's Kurds vote on independence, raising regional fears


    IRBIL, Iraq — Iraqi Kurds voted Monday in a landmark referendum on supporting independence, a move billed by the Kurdish leadership as an exercise in self-determination but viewed as a hostile act by Iraq's central government. Neighboring Turkey even threatened a military response.

    People celebrate Monday after voting closed in a referendum on independence in Irbil, Iraq.
  4. North Korean diplomat says Trump has 'declared war'


    UNITED NATIONS — North Korea's top diplomat said Monday that President Donald Trump's weekend tweet was a "declaration of war" and North Korea has the right to retaliate by shooting down U.S. bombers, even in international airspace.

    North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, center, speaks outside the U.N. Plaza Hotel in New York on Monday.
  5. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]