An established group of local lawyers and other community members has named its endorsements for most contested races in Jefferson Family and District courts.
“These candidates meet the high standards and demanding criteria established for endorsement by Citizens for Better Judges and CBJ recommends to the electorate as the most qualified in the family court and the district court judicial races,” the group announced Friday.
Citizens for Better Judges endorsed Bryan Gatewood and sitting Judge Derwin L. Webb for division four and 10 of Jefferson Family Court, respectively.
Gatewood is in private practice specializing in civil matters, including family law. He was one of three nominees chosen last year by the Judicial Nominating Commission to fill the division four judgeship, which ultimately went to Lauren Adams Ogden when she was selected by Gov. Matt Bevin.
She is running to keep her seat, as is Lori Goodwin and Shelley Santry.
Webb, a criminal defense and family attorney, was appointed to the seat in fall 2017 by Bevin, after the retirement of Paula Sherlock. Emily Maria Digenis is running against Webb.
Citizens for Better Judges made endorsements in three of four district court races, withholding judgment in the division three race, which includes candidates Tracy Davis, Kristina Garvey and James “Jim” Green.
For division four, the group endorsed Julie Kaelin, a former public defender now in private practice specializing in criminal defense. The seat is currently held by L.J. “Todd” Hollenbach, who defeated 20 other candidates in 2015 to win the judgeship.
Sitting Judge Sean Delahanty scored an endorsement in the division six race. Alex Gaddis and Lisa Langford are also vying for the seat.
In the most crowded district court race, CBJ endorsed Daniel Alvarez — in private practice specializing in criminal defense and immigration law — for division nine. Also running are Karen Faulkner, Tanisha Ann Hickerson and sitting Judge Andre Bergeron, who was appointed to the bench in fall 2017 by the governor.
Circuit Court candidates for division two of Jefferson Circuit Court, Annie O’Connell and sitting judge Darryl Lavery, will be evaluated by the group in April.
Citizens for Better Judges consists of a 30-member steering committee of lawyers in various practice areas as well as a citizens board. The committee interviews candidates and makes recommendations, which then need to be approved by the citizens board.
The primary election is set for May 22. The top two vote earners in each nonpartisan race will advance to the Nov. 6 general election.