Thursday, April 22, 2004

Roster for judge job now at five


Committee will narrow list to 3

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

NEWPORT - Just a few weeks ago it appeared that Fort Thomas lawyer Steve Franzen was a lock for a gubernatorial appointment to Campbell Circuit Court.

At the time, Franzen was believed to be the only lawyer who had applied to succeed retiring Judge William Wehr.

But as the committee that will select finalists for the appointment meets today for the first time, the list of hopefuls seeking the nod from Gov. Ernie Fletcher has grown to five.

Whoever is appointed must run in November to fill out the remaining two years of Wehr's term.

In addition to Franzen - who has committed to running in November - lawyers seeking the appointment are:

• Julie Reinhardt Ward, 33, of Alexandria.

If she does not get the appointment, she said, she will run in the fall. She is the daughter of veteran state Rep. Jon David Reinhardt, R-Claryville.

• Peter Coughlan, 48, of Fort Thomas. He is undecided on the fall race.

• Charles Lester, 49, of Fort Thomas. He is undecided but leaning toward running.

• Chris Macke, 40, of Fort Thomas. Undecided on the fall race.

Also expected to run in November is veteran Campbell District Judge Greg Popovich of Fort Thomas.

Popovich, however, is not seeking the appointment.

Landing the appointment is seen as a huge advantage for the November general election because that person will be able to run as an incumbent.

Franzen did not want to comment on the other entrants in the field.

He is still viewed by many lawyers and county GOP leaders as the favorite to be appointed by Fletcher, a Republican.

Judge races are nonpartisan, but politics can play a role in how appointments are handed out.

For instance, Ward is expected to benefit from her father's connections to the GOP establishment in Frankfort. He has served in Frankfort for 20 years, though much of his legislative district is outside of Campbell County.

"He's going to help me. He's very excited about this," Ward said of her father. "He's a good campaign worker. He'll make phone calls and walk door to door. He thinks there will be a lot of support behind us."

Asked if her father will lobby Fletcher on her behalf for the appointment, Ward said he would do "what ethically he can do."

Ward and her father appeared last week at a political fund-raiser in Edgewood for Sen. Jack Westwood, R-Crescent Springs. Fletcher was the speaker at the event, which Franzen also attended.

The five applicants will be reviewed today by the Campbell County Judicial Nominating Commission. Three will be chosen by the commission, and their names will be forwarded to Fletcher, who is expected to announce the appointment this month or in early May.

E-mail pcrowley@enquirer.com




TOP STORIES
Brace for more airport noise
Feds take over probe of pastor in N.Ky.
The light's on for Matt
Lynch family understands

IN THE TRISTATE
Suit attacks store's policy
Truckin' Bozo's buggin' out for good
Luken complains of 'bureaucratic nightmare'
Earth Day, 34, credited with big change
Earth Day events
Road projects competitive
News briefs
Council members differ on flights out of Lunken
Monroe asks into Ohio 63 planning
Mt. Healthy hires administrator
Local effort led to new center
Neighbors briefs
Bill to ID judicial donors gets big push
Lawmakers reviving video slots at tracks
Public safety briefs
Maynard Ferguson to bring his jazz band to Anderson
Soldier's family grieves, prays
Digging collapsed Summit
Kristen's death a lesson

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
Bronson: Reformers meandered, but hit truth
Organ recipient keeps giving back

LIVES REMEMBERED
Mary Blase, supporter of arts in city
Dick Fraley led athletic program at Fenwick Club

KENTUCKY STORIES
Lexington's final call likely to be 2:30 a.m.
Applebee's slaying described
Crowley: Budget blame game spills into Senate election race
Bell-making in Newport makes for riveting TV
Zoning panel bars Burlington subdivision
Roster for judge job now at five
Library board sued over pick for Independence site
Kentucky News Briefs
Team brings life to classic artworks
School chief jobs vacant