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Incumbent Family Court judge at risk of losing her seat

Updated June 10, 2020 - 3:07 pm

Two new Family Court judges could emerge from this week’s primary election, while at least one incumbent is at risk of losing her seat, according to early results posted Wednesday.

Another incumbent appears likely to retain his seat on the bench.

Attorneys Stephanie Charter and Margaret Pickard garnered more than 50 percent of the vote counted thus far in separate three-way races for newly created Family Court seats, preliminary results showed.

Along with those two positions, Family Court is set to fill four other new seats next year. Races for three of those jobs are set to be decided in the fall.

That means a total of eight Family Court contests have shifted to the general election in November, as voters waded through 35 names on the primary ballot in 11 Family Court races.

The results from the mail-in ballots delivered to voters because of the coronavirus pandemic are incomplete and are not expected to become official for at least a week. The votes of those who mailed their ballots on Tuesday or cast ballots in person had not been counted as of Wednesday afternoon.

Here’s a look at how each primary race played out as mail-in votes were tabulated:

Department A

Incumbent Judge William Voy could be headed to the general election to face his sister-in-law, Cheryl Wingate. Voy pulled 49.4 percent of the vote, while Wingate earned 26.7 percent in a three-way race that included former Family Court judge Gayle Nathan, who has 23.9 percent.

Department I

Soonhee “Sunny” Bailey, a family court hearing master, and Michelle Tobler, a private lawyer with experience as a Department of Family Services hearing officer, are likely headed to the general election, vying to fill a seat being vacated by Cheryl Moss. Candidate Yvette Chevalier Lopez is running third in the race

Department J

Incumbent Judge Rena Hughes, who has held the seat since 2014, was running third with 28 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results. Attorney J. Scott MacDonald collected 41.7 percent of the vote, while Dedree “Dee” Butler, a public defender, collected 30.3 percent.

Department M

Attorneys Amy Mastin and Lynn Hughes emerged as the top two finishers in a four-way race to replace Judge William Potter, who did not seek re-election. Robert Kurth Jr. and Mandy McKellar were running third and fourth in the race, respectively.

Department P

Attorneys Mary Perry and Sara Dayani hold the top two spots in a three-way race with attorney Fred Page, as they seek to fill a seat being vacated by Judge Sandra Pomrenze, who did not seek re-election.

Department S

Incumbent Judge Vincent Ochoa, who took the bench in 2010, received 55.4 percent of the vote. He was challenged by attorneys Regina McConnell and Lisa Szyc.

Department T

Attorneys Jason Stoffel and Nadin Cutter were the top two vote-getters in a three-way race to fill a seat opened by retiring Judge Lisa Brown. Another attorney, Gemma Nazareno-Edquilang, was running third.

Department U

Attorneys Dawn Throne and Bill Gonzalez appear headed to the general election in a race for one of six new Family Court seats. Attorney Marilyn Caston was running third in the race.

Department V

Family Court hearing master Margaret Pickard collected 65.4 percent of the vote to lead attorneys Craig Bourke and Jack Fleeman in a race for this newly created seat.

Department Y

Attorney Stephanie Charter earned 55.3 percent of the vote in a three-way race against Karianne Molnar and Maricar Andrade.

Department Z

Judicial hopefuls Michele “Shell” Mercer and Romeo Perez appeared to be headed to the general election, earning the top two spots in a four-way race against Randall Forman and Kevin Speed.

Family Court judges are paid roughly $160,000 per year.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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