New Port Richey lawyer Frank Grey on Tuesday won an open county judge seat.
With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Grey had a 14,000-vote lead over Tom Hanlon, head of the public defender's office in Dade City. Grey, 57, takes the post being vacated by Judge Robert Cole, who is retiring.
"I'm so grateful to everybody who's supported me and done so much," Grey said Tuesday night at his victory party at Leaning Tower of Pizza on Grand Boulevard.
The six-year position has been based at the Dade City courthouse but could shift to New Port Richey if judges' assignments are shuffled.
County judges preside over small claims civil cases, misdemeanor crimes and traffic offenses. The criminal cases carry possible sentences of less than one year in jail and the civil cases involve disputes of $15,000 or less.
Grey comes from a prominent Pasco real estate family.
He was making his second run for office after losing a race for county judge in 2006 by just 55 votes.
"It was a tough one last time," he said.
His law practice has focused on real estate, as well as code enforcement issues, zoning, land use and landlord-tenant disputes.
Grey and Hanlon were the top vote-getters in the four-way primary in August. The job pays $134,280 a year.