TAMPA — With more than 400,000 votes counted, Robin Fuson, Lisa Allen, and Jack Gutman appeared headed to victory Tuesday night in Hillsborough County's judicial races. A fourth race in the Pinellas-Pasco circuit saw Dave Ellis with a decisive win.
Hillsborough Circuit Judge, Group 25
Robin Fuson, a longtime criminal defense lawyer, took an early lead over personal attorney Jamey Moody in the county's only circuit judge race. Late Tuesday, he held 55 percent to Moody's 44 percent.
Moody, a personal injury lawyer, is the brother of Ashley Moody, the former circuit judge who won the race for attorney general Tuesday night. Their father, James S. Moody Jr., is a federal judge in Tampa, whose own father, the late James S. Moody Sr., was a circuit judge and also served in the state Legislature.
The family is well-regarded in their native Plant City. A significant portion of Jamey Moody's more than $200,000 in campaign contributions came from east Hillsborough residents.
Fuson, a former professional baseball player, raised about half as much.
In August, the candidates finished neck-and-neck in a four-way primary, setting up what turned out to be a negative campaign toward the general election.
Most notable was an ad from the Moody campaign that called attention to allegations that Fuson had been fired as a substitute Hillsborough County teacher in 1980 after he allowed students to watch a pornographic film.
Fuson said the allegation was false. He said he kept his teaching certificate and subsequently worked as a volunteer baseball coach for the district.
Fuson's supporters fired back, spreading word that Moody might have violated campaign rules for judges by touting support from State Sen. Tom Lee. Judicial candidates are prohibited from associating with parties or partisan candidates.
Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge, Group 4
Dave Ellis had secured a clear victory over Roxanne Fixsen in the only circuit judge race in Pinellas and Pasco Counties. Ellis led with 59 percent to Fixsen's 40 percent.
Ellis ran a campaign that emphasized his 25 years of legal experience, including about 20 years as the owner of a north Pinellas law firm.
Hillsborough County Judge, Group 2
Attorney Lisa Allen won by a 10-percentage point margin over the better-funded Greg Green in the race for county judge group 2.
Green far outspent his opponent, raising more than $170,000. Allen raised just $31,295.
Jack Gutman handily defeated E. Michael Isaak in this county judge race. By the end of the night, Gutman held about 61 percent to Isaak's 39 percent.
Gutman is an attorney with a broad range of experience in civil and criminal law, in both the private and public sectors.
Isaak, an attorney specializing in DUI defense cases, poured more than $140,000 of his own money into his campaign, ultimately topping Gutman's fundraising total by more than a third.
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