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Local lawyers surveyed on judicial candidates

Judicial candidates Claudia Isom-Rickert, Thomas Cunningham Jr., Robert Simms, Dick Greco Jr. and Frank Gomez got the nod from local lawyers in a poll released Thursday by the Hillsborough County Bar Association. Only about 36 percent of the Bar's 2,242 members voted in the poll, the third conducted by the Bar Association this year.

Bar Association president Ronald Russo said he thinks lawyers may be tired of answering so many surveys. He still thinks the poll will help the public make informed decisions when voting Nov. 6.

"I still think it's a representative sampling," Russo said. "It's a much better turnout than in" local elections.

In Circuit Group 14, Simms won 55 percent of the vote. His competitor, prosecutor Michael Benito, had 34 percent. Eleven percent of the lawyers who voted were undecided.

"I'm very pleased that my colleagues who know us best voted for me and I appreciate it," said Simms, who finished second to Benito in the October election.

In Circuit Group 15, Isom-Rickert garnered 70 percent of the polled vote. Her competitor, attorney Michael Kavouklis, trailed with 24 percent. Six percent of the lawyers were undecided.

Cunningham beat attorney Florence Foster in the race for Circuit Group 30. Cunningham got 67 percent; Foster 20 percent. Thirteen percent was undecided.

In County Group 10, Gomez won 43 percent of the vote. Assistant Public Defender Daniel Perry followed with 28 percent. Twenty-nine percent was undecided.

Greco beat prosecutor Christine Vogel in the race for County Group 11. Greco garnered 52 percent of the vote while Vogel had 36 percent. Twelve percent was undecided.

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