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Voters to decide 51 circuit and county court races this year; 227 seats on the bench were uncontested after qualifying

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VoteFifty-one circuit and county court races will go to voters on the August 23 primary ballot. Another 227 circuit and county judge seats were uncontested.

Filing for Florida’s judicial offices closed on April  29. Circuit court judges file with the Secretary of State while county court candidates file with their local supervisors of elections.

The trial court contests will appear on the August primary ballot and any runoffs will be resolved in the general election. There are 605 circuit court seats and 330 county judge positions in Florida.

At the circuit court level, 170 seats were up for election. Twenty races are contested, including 15 seats held by incumbent judges. Seven open seats drew only one candidate.

By comparison, in 2020, there were 34 contested circuit court races, including 20 involving incumbents. There were 220 uncontested circuit court races.

By circuit, here are the contested and uncontested races:

  • In the First Circuit, there were no contested races, and Judges John Thomas Brown, David J. Oberliesen, Coleman Lee Robinson, Jennifer J. Frydrychowicz, William Francis Stone, and Clifton A. Drake were elected without opposition.
  • In the Second Circuit, there were no contested races, and incumbent judges elected without opposition included Joshua M. Hawkes, Anthony B. Miller, Dawn Caloca Johnson, J. Layne Smith, and Jonathan Sjostrom.
  • In the Third Circuit, Fred L. Koberlein, Jr., became a judge without opposition.
  • In the Fourth Circuit, Lindsay Tygart was elected unopposed as were Judges Marianne Aho, Russell L. Heale, Gilbert L. Feltel, Jr., Bruce R. Anderson, Angela M. Cox, Jeb T. Branham, Steven Michael Fahlgren, Mark H. Mahon, and Anthony Salem.
  • In the Fifth Circuit, elected without opposition were Robert W. Hodges, Cary Frank Rada, Thomas Ralph Eineman, Donald E. Scaglione, Ann Melinda Craggs, and Joel Fritton.
  • In the Sixth Circuit, in Group 22, Judge Cynthia Newton is being challenged by Nicholas “Nick” Fiorentino, and in Group 27, Judge Keith Meyer is being challenged by Scott Finelli. Elected without opposition were Judges Julie L. Sercus, Sherwood S. Coleman, Joshua Riba, Patricia A. Muscarella, Jack Helinger, Patrice W. Moore, Michael Francis Andrews, Kimberly “Kim” Todd, and Steve D. Berlin.
  • In the Seventh Circuit, elected without opposition were Judges Kenneth “Kenny” Janesk, Matt Foxman, Stasia Warren, Dennis Craig, A. Kathleen McNeilly, Howard O. McGillin, Jr., and Dawn D. Nichols.
  • In the Eighth Circuit, in Group 12, Sean Brewer, AuBroncee Martin, Nathan A. Skop, and Dan Weisman qualified to run for an open seat. Judges David Kreider, Donna M. Keim, Mark W. Moseley, James M. Colaw, and George M. Wright were elected without opposition.
  • In the Ninth Circuit, in Group 9, Alison Kerestes and Fay Olga Pappas are running; in Group 14, Judge John Beamer is facing Michael Stewart; in Group 44, Judge Vincent Chiu is facing Aldo Bartolone. Incumbent Judges James Craner, Luis Calderon, Alice L. Blackwell, Josh Mize, Robert Egan, Greg Tynan, Gisela T. Laurent, Patricia Strowbridge, Lisa T. Munyon, and Paetra Brownlee were all returned to office.
  • In the 10th Circuit, Brenda Ramirez and Susan Lee Barber were elected without opposition, as were Judges Lori A. Winstead, Kelly P. Butz, Keith Peter Spoto, Ellen S. Masters, Reinaldo Ojeda, Jon Kevin Abdoney, Heather Beato, Angela Jane Cowden, James Alan Yancey, and Jennifer A. Swenson.
  • In the 11th Circuit, in Group 3, Judge Lody Jean is being challenged by Teressa Maria Cervera; in Group 20, Judge Robert Watson will face Brenda Guerrero; in Group 34, incumbent Judge Mark Blumstein faces Ariel Rodriguez; and in Group 52, Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts is opposed by Jason Edward Bloch. Elected without opposition were incumbent Judges Christina Marie DiRaimondo, Laura Cruz, Marcia Del Rey, Scott M. Bernstein, Bertila A. Soto, Tom “Tomás” Rebull, William Altfield, Jennifer D. Bailey, Barbara Arece, David H. Young, William Thomas, Milton “Milt” Hirsch, Samantha Ruiz Cohen, Ramiro Areces, Nushin G. Sayfie, Gina Beovides, Marlene A. Fernandez-Karavetsos, Zachary N. James, and George “Jorge” A. Sarduy.
  • In the 12th Circuit, elected without opposition were Judges Diana L. Moreland, Thomas W. Krug, and Matt Whyte.
  • In the 13th Circuit, in Group 6, Judge Wesley Tibbals will face Belinda Noah, and in Group 37, Judge Jared Smith is being challenged by Nancy L. Jacobs. Elected without opposition were Judges Liz Rice, Chris Nash, Alissa Ellison, Denise D. Almeida-Pomponio, Mark Kiser, and Melissa Polo.
  • In the 14th Circuit, incumbent Judges Tim Register, Pete Mallory, Christopher Nida Patterson, Brantley Scott Clark, Jr., and William Scott Henry were reelected without opposition.
  • In the 15th Circuit, in Group 23, Judge John “Johnny K” Kastrenakes is being challenged by Caryn Siperstein and Alcolya St. Juste. Elected without opposition were incumbent Judges Dina Keever-Agrama, Howard Kelly Coates, Jr., Laura Johnson, “Lou” Luis Delgado, Cheryl Caracuzzo, Laura Burkhart Lauri, Paige Gillman, Renatha Francis, Scott Suskauer, Caroline Shepherd, Kirk C. Volker, Donald William Hafele, and Lisa Small.
  • In the 16th Circuit, Judge Timothy J. Koenig was elected without opposition.
  • In the 17th Circuit, in Group 9, Judge Andrea Ruth Gundersen faces Lauren Melissa Alperstein; in Group 14, Judge William W. “Bill” Haury, Jr., is being challenged by Alejandro “Alex” Arreaza; in Group 23, Gary M. Farmer, Jr., Rhoda Sokoloff, and Tania Maria Williams qualified from an open seat; and in Group 51, Tamar N. Hamilton, Denise Kistner, and Lorena Mastrarrigo will vie for an open seat. Elected without opposition were Judges Kenneth L. Gillespie, Elijah Harold Williams, Carlos A. Rodriguez, Hope Tieman Bristol, Barbara R. Duffy, Michael Davis, Carlos Rebollo, Michael Lynch, Stacy Michelle Ross, and Edward Harold Merrigan, Jr.
  • In the 18th Circuit, in Group 3, Judge Jessica Recksiedler faces John Mannion. Elected without opposition were Scott Blaue and Michelle Pruitt Studstill. Judges Kelly Jo McKibben, Christina Marie Sanchez Serrano, Christopher Michael Sprysenski, Michael Joseph Rudisill, and Michelle L. Naberhaus were also returned to office.
  • In the 19th Circuit, in Group 1, Judge Rebecca White is being challenged by Christian Van Riper, and in Group 2, Leatha Dawn Mullins and Alexander Stuart Nelson have qualified. Elected without opposition were incumbent Judges Michael J. McNicholas, Janet Carney Croom, Charles Schwab, and Brett M. Waronicki.
  • In the 20th Circuit, elected without opposition were incumbent Judges Shannon H. McFee, James R. “Jim” Shenko, Nick Thompson, Ramiro Mañalich, Alane Laboda, James D. Sloan, Kyle Cohen, Lauren L. Brodie, Robert J. Branning, and Gilberto Perez.

Information on county judge races was compiled by the Office of the State Courts Administrator by visiting county supervisor of election websites, and News staff internet searches as incumbent judges are not identified on individual supervisor of elections’ websites. It’s possible not all the websites were up to date. If any corrections are needed, please email [email protected].

There were 107 total county judge races listed, with 32 of those being contested. Fourteen of the contested races involved incumbent judges. In 2020, there were 17 county judge races with 11 of the contested races involved incumbent judges.

Here are the filings as compiled from the supervisors of elections websites:

  • Alachua County: Judges Susan Miller-Jones, Walter Green, and Tom Jaworski were unopposed.
  • Bay County: Judge E. William Dyer was unopposed.
  • Bradford County: Judge D. Tatum Davis was unopposed.
  • Brevard County: In Group 2, Judge Kelly Ingram is being challenged by David Allen Baker, and Kimberly Lynn Musselman and Renee Torpy will face off in Group 4. Judges David Silverman, Aaron Joseph Peacock, and David Koenig were elected unopposed.
  • Broward County: Michael G. Ahearn, Chris M. Brown, Suzette O. Hyde, and Jordanne Alana Spencer will compete for an open seat in Group 15. In Group 26 Judge Mardi Levey Cohen is being challenged by Kaysia Monica Earley. Judges John D. Fry, Kal Le Var Evans, Florence Taylor Barner, Daniel J. Kanner, Nina W. Di Pietro, Kathleen McCarthy, John M. B. Hurley, Betsy Benson, Kim Theresa Mollica, Tabitha Elise Blackmon, Kenneth A. Gottlieb, Deborah Carpenter Toye, and Giuseppina Miranda were unopposed.
  • Citrus County: In Group 1, Edward C. Spaight will face Lisa Elaine Yeager. Judge Bruce Carney was unopposed.
  • Clay County: Tonya Barge, Raymond Edward Forbess, Geraldine C. Hartin, and Chris Johns will vie for Group 1.
  • Collier County: In Group 3, Pamela Barger will face Chris Brown.
  • Duval County: Audrey Moran and Judges Robin Lanigan, Eleni Derke, and Julie Taylor were unopposed.
  • Escambia County: In Group 1, Paul Hamlin will face Scott Ritchie. Judge Barry E. Dickson, Jr., was unopposed.
  • Flagler County: Judge Andrea Karyn Totten was unopposed.
  • Hillsborough County: In Group 14, Melissa Black, Alicia Whiting Bozich, Linette “Starr” Brookins, and Mike Isaak will vie for the seat. Judges James Moody, Michael Bagge-Hernandez, Miriam Valkenburg, and Joseph Logan Murphy were unopposed.
  • Holmes County: Judge Lucas N. Taylor was unopposed.
  • Indian River County: Judge Robyn Stone was unopposed.
  • Lake County: Judge Emily Curington was unopposed.
  • Lee County: In Group 4, Judge Archie B. Hayward, Jr., is being challenged by Lindsay Scott Garza. Judge Nicole Mirra was unopposed.
  • Leon County: Incumbent Judge Jason L. Jones will face Mario R. Theodore in Group 1. Judge Stefanie M. Newlin was unopposed.
  • Manatee County: Judge Jacqueline B. Steele was unopposed.
  • Marion County: LeAnn Mackey-Barnes, Danielle B. Ruse, and Renee Thompson will vie for the Group 1 seat. Judge Lori Cotton is being challenged William Harris in Group 2.
  • Martin County: Judge Darren Steele was unopposed.
  • Miami-Dade County: Judge Jeffrey M. Kolokoff is being challenged by Lissette De La Rosa in Group 19. Judge Scott Janowitz is being challenged by Alicia Garcia Priovolos in Group 42. Judge Fred Seraphin is being challenged by Renier Diaz de la Portilla in Group 5. Marcus R. Bach Armas and Judges Ayana Harris, Carlos H. Gamez, Michaelle Gonzalez-Paulson, Elisabeth Espinosa, Linda Melendez, Carroll Kelly, Miesha Shonta Darrough, Cristina Rivera Correa, Chiaka Ihekwaba, and Julie Harris Nelson were unopposed.
  • Monroe County: Albert Kelley will face Jason Smith in Group 1. Judge Sharon Hamilton was unopposed.
  • Okaloosa County: Judge Jim Ward was unopposed.
  • Orange County: Judge Andrew A. Bain and Jared Adelman will compete in Group 2. Judge Elizabeth Starr and Michael Morris and will face off in Group 8. Amanda Sampaio Bova will face Steven Miller in Group 9 and Judge Elizabeth Joy Gibson will face Josh Adams in Group 17. Judges Eric H. Dubois, David P. Johnson, and Evellen Jewett were unopposed.
  • Palm Beach County: Judge Paul Damico will face Karen Velez in Group 9. Judges Marni Bryson, John Joseph Parnofiello, Sara Shullman, Melanie Surber, and August Bonavita were unopposed.
  • Pasco County: Clementine Conde will face Patrick Moore in Group 4.
  • Pinellas County: Della Cope, David Constantine Moran, and Megan Roach will vie in Group 1. Judge Kathleen T. “Kathy” Hessinger is being challenged by Ken Afienko in Group 13. Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Zuroweste and Judges Holly Grissinger, Theodora C. Komninos, Brett Jacob Szematowicz, Joseph Lawhorne, and Dorothy Vaccaro were unopposed.
  • Polk County: John Flynn, Ruth Moracen Knight, Carmalita Lall, Adam David Patton, and Tara Wheat have filed in Group 8. Judges Robert G. Fegers, Mary Catherine Green, and Kevin M. Kohl were unopposed.
  • Santa Rosa County: Judge Robert Hilliard was unopposed.
  • Sarasota County: Judges Phyllis Rogers Galen, MaryAnn Olson Boehm, and Erika Nikla Quartermaine were unopposed.
  • Seminole County: Carsandra Buie, Erik Swenk and Judge Kenneth R. Lester, Jr., were unopposed.
  • St. Johns County: Alyssa Camper Shorstein will face Casey L. Woolsey in Group 2.
  • St. Lucie County: Judge Edmond Alonzo was unopposed.
  • Suwannee County: Jennifer Kuyrkendall Griffin, Arminda W. “Mindy” Janousek, and Ryan Jennings Peters will compete for the county judgeship.
  • Volusia County: Judge Wesley Heidt is being challenged by Sara Howeller in Group 5. Judge Robert Sanders was unopposed.
  • Wakulla County: Roseanna Bronhard, Eddie Evans, and Brian Miller will face each other.
  • Walton County: Judge David Green was unopposed.
  • Washington County: Judge Colby Peel was unopposed.

(Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect that the Hernando County Judge Group 1 race is now an open seat for the governor’s appointment as the incumbent, Judge Kristie Healis, was recently elevated to the Fifth Circuit Court and the election has been postponed until 2024.)

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