Wednesday, November 5, 2003

Clermont County voters return incumbent judges



By Karen Vance
Enquirer contributor

Two incumbent Clermont County Municipal Court judges cruised to easy victories over challengers in Tuesday's election.

Ronald A. Mason, 46, a self-employed attorney in Milford, was challenging incumbent Judge James A. Shriver, 46. Shriver won, 18,377 to 10,956 in final, unofficial returns.

Shriver has served as judge for nine years and was a prosecutor for 101/2 years. Mason touted his experience representing neglected and abused children, saying it prepared him to be a fair and compassionate judge.

In the other race, challenger Anthony E. Brock, 35, was losing to incumbent and 12-year Judge Thomas R. Herman, 54. Herman had 17,346 votes to Brock's 11,727.

Herman, who has served on the bench for 12 years, credited voters with seeing through what he called a negative campaign by his opponent.

"I think the voters have recognized that I've done a good job for them, and they've said negative campaigning doesn't work," he said. "In comparison with my record, it just didn't stand up."

As returns were being reported, Brock, who in his campaign emphasized his work since 1995 as a prosecuting attorney, remained positive, but said he realized incumbent name recognition and support was a hurdle he still needed to overcome.

Randy and Kim Smart, of Batavia Township, said Tuesday they voted for the incumbents after meeting them at the League of Women Voters candidate night.

For Jeanie West, 60, of Batavia Township, the judges' reputations led her to vote for the incumbents.

"I was interested in electing judges to interpret the law instead of make it," she said.

Many voters in the county said they followed the Republican Party-endorsed ballot, which listed both Shriver and Herman. Officially, all Clermont County races are nonpartisan.

Shriver was celebrating early at Republican Party headquarters in Batavia.

"The vote totals obviously indicate that the voters are very satisfied with my job performance. I'm very grateful for the opportunity they have given me to serve the county," Shriver said. The judges serve six-year terms.

While working the polls, voters were positive, telling him to "keep up the good work," he said.

"Many of the voters commented on my signs; they were very supportive of the 'tough but fair' slogan," he said.

Meanwhile, Tim Rudd, 44, the current assistant clerk of courts with eight years of experience, defeated Chris King, 59, in the race for municipal court clerk. Rudd collected 19,079 votes to 8,740 for King, a retired engineer.

King ran on a platform of independence in a county ruled by Republicans.




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