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Pinellas-Pasco's top prosecutor, public defender and a host of judges win office unopposed

Bernie McCabe was elected Friday to a sixth and final term as the top prosecutor in Pinellas and Pasco counties without having to run against anybody — again. He hasn't been opposed since being elected in 1992.

"I hope it's because we do a good job," said McCabe, 64, who plans to retire in 2016. "Maybe the cynic in me says it's because no one else wants it."

His counterpart, Public Defender Bob Dillinger, 60, was also unopposed in his bid for re-election to a fifth term in office.

"They say the best way to run for office is unopposed," Dillinger said.

And the circuit's newest judge, Tom Ramsberger, was automatically elected because no one filed to run against him by noon Friday.

"I did my best not to look too much," he said. "I did check at 12:01 p.m."

In all, 11 circuit judges and six county judges were automatically re-elected because no one decided to oppose them before the judicial qualifying period ended Friday.

The only judicial races that will be decided by voters in the fall are three circuit judge races and one Pinellas County judge's seat.

• The only incumbent facing a challenger is Circuit Judge Jack Day in the Group 45 race. Assistant State Attorney Agnes Theresa McCabe, who worked in Day's courtroom, filed to run against him earlier this year. She is not related to her boss, State Attorney Bernie McCabe.

• The Group 15 race is between board-certified criminal attorney Bill Burgess and former Safety Harbor commissioner and mayor Andy Steingold.

• Attorney Brian Battaglia and Kimberly "Kim" Campbell will face off for the Group 31 circuit judgeship. Battaglia works at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & Wein, a high-profile firm founded by his father Anthony Battaglia. Campbell has practiced family and criminal law and served as a guardian ad litem.

• Pinellas County Judge Henry Andringa's plan to retire will leave a vacancy on the county bench. One of those vying to replace him is the judge's son: defense attorney and former prosecutor Scott Andringa. His opponent is Cathy Ann McKyton, a prosecutor for the Office of Statewide Prosecution.

• The 11 circuit judges who were automatically re-elected on Friday were: Joseph Bulone; Dee Anna Farnell; Philip J. Federico; Christine Helinger; Nancy Moate Ley; Thomas Minkoff; Frank Quesada; Lynn Tepper; Pat Siracusa; William Webb; and Amy Williams.

• The six Pinellas County judges who were returned to the bench were: Susan Bedinghaus; Walt Fullerton; Donald E. Horrox; Lorraine M. Kelly; Myra Scott McNary; and William H. Overton.

The election will be Aug. 14 and the runoff, if necessary, will be held Nov. 6. But unopposed candidates will not appear on the ballot.

Pinellas-Pasco's top prosecutor, public defender and a host of judges win office unopposed 04/20/12 [Last modified: Friday, April 20, 2012 10:18pm]
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