Voters will be facing an unusual situation Tuesday when deciding one of 11 Summit County judicial races on the ballot.
Neither candidate Todd McKenney nor Jon Oldham is a sitting common pleas judge trying to retain a seat. Instead, they are running to replace Republican Jane M. Davis, who dropped out of the race in early August after winning the May primary.
Former University of?Akron law professor J. Dean Carro, a past president of the Akron Bar Association, called the Oldham-McKenney contest “interesting” because it’s out of the norm.
“The norm is a judge running to retain his or her seat, and an opponent seeking to unseat that person. Judges tend to stay as long as they possibly can, so it’s less common to have what, in effect, is an open seat,” Carro said.
Republican McKenney, 51, was appointed to a judgeship in April in Barberton Municipal Court and, before that, served as county probate judge and state representative.
Oldham, 37, is a Democrat who currently serves as a magistrate and judicial attorney in Summit County Probate Court. Last year, he nearly beat an incumbent judge in Akron Municipal Court, winning in unofficial election night results but losing to Katarina Cook in an elections board recount by a difference of 15 votes (13,888 to 13,873).
Here are the other Summit judicial races, listed in the order in which they appear on the ballot filed on the county elections board’s website:
¦?Incumbent Eve Belfance, who is seeking a second six-year term on Akron’s 9th District Court of Appeals, is opposed by Akron Municipal Judge Julie A. Schafer.
¦?Among the seven races to be decided on the Common Pleas Court bench, incumbent Tammy O’Brien was appointed to her seat in 2011 but won election a year later to the unexpired term. Her challenger is Ron Cable, who has served as a magistrate since 2005 in domestic relations court.
¦?Incumbent Common Pleas Judge Lynne S. Callahan, who is seeking a second six-year term, is opposed by Tavia Baxter-Galonski, a county juvenile court magistrate for the past 11 years.
¦?Alison McCarty is running for her second six-year term in Common Pleas Court. Lisa Dean, a private practice attorney in domestic relations cases, is the opponent.
¦?Common Pleas Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands also is seeking a second full term in a race in which her opponent, Beth Whitmore, has taken an unusual path. She won her third term on the 9th District appeals court in 2010, but Ohio Supreme Court rules barred her from running again, so she declared her common pleas candidacy. She previously served on that court from 1996-1998.
¦?Christine Croce, who has served as a former assistant county prosecutor and chief counsel in the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, was appointed to the common pleas bench a year ago after a two-year tenure as a Barberton municipal judge. Her opponent is John Clark, the chief magistrate in Stow Municipal Court.
¦?Judge Tom Parker, who won election to Common Pleas Court in 2008, is seeking another full term. Rob McCarty, a juvenile court magistrate since 2004 and the brother-in-law of Alison McCarty, is his challenger.
¦?In the Summit County Juvenile Court race, incumbent Linda Tucci Teodosio, who first won election in 2002, is seeking her third full term. Her opponent is attorney Jill Flagg Lanzinger, who has served as a juvenile court guardian ad litem and as a substitute magistrate in Akron Municipal Court.
¦?In Domestic Relations Court, incumbent John P. Quinn is seeking his third full term on the bench. Katarina Cook, who won a municipal court seat last year, is the challenger.
¦?Incumbent Summit County Probate Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer, who won election in 2012 to fill the unexpired term of longtime Probate Judge Bill Spicer, is running for her first six-year term. Her opponent is Kandi S. O’Connor, a common pleas magistrate and head of the court’s mediation program.
The Akron Bar Association’s Judicial Commission has published ratings for all of the candidates. To view the ratings, go to www.youbethejudgesummitcounty.com. Bar President Anne Marie O’Brien urged voters to take a strong interest in educating themselves about the candidates and to “get out to vote” with so many races to be decided on Election Day.
Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or email@example.com.