By Patrick Crowley
Enquirer staff writer
Campbell Circuit Judge Julie Reinhardt Ward held off challenges from a more experienced field to win election Tuesday to the judicial seat she has held for just seven months.
With 98.5 percent of the county's precincts, Ward has 12,493 votes compared to 11,471 for lawyer Steve Franzen, 9,706 for District Judge Greg Popovich and 679 for lawyer Charles Lester.
"I want to congratulate Julie and thank all of the people in Campbell County who voted," Franzen said. "We need to move on and support the judge."
Ward, of Alexandria, the first woman on the Campbell Circuit bench, has the least experience of the four candidates. She has been a lawyer for nine years but was appointed to the seat only this spring by Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher.
Because her father, state Rep. Jon David Reinhardt of Campbell County, is also a Republican, she has endured criticism that her appointment was politically motivated. But she contends that the governor would not have appointed her if she wasn't qualified.
"The governor knew I could do this job, that's why he appointed me," Ward said early in the campaign. "I have a lot of experience and I've proven in the months since I was appointed that I am qualified."
Franzen ran on his 22 years' experience as a prosecutor, public defender, city attorney and staff lawyer for the Kentucky Supreme Court. He has a private practice in Newport. Franzen also sought the gubernatorial appointment.
Popovich said during the campaign that he is the most qualified because of the nearly 11 years he has spent on the Campbell District Court bench. He was endorsed by law-enforcement labor unions in the county. Popovich believed he was by far the most experienced candidate because of his years on the bench. He estimated he handled more than 75,000 cases in his career.
Lester, a lawyer for 22 years, did the least campaigning of the candidates.
In a survey of about 200 lawyers by the Northern Kentucky Bar Association, Franzen was named "well qualified" by 109 lawyers and "not qualified" by 15.
Popovich was rated "well qualified" by 108 lawyers and "not qualified" by 18. Ward was named "well qualified" by 18 lawyers and "not qualified" by 88. Lester received a "well qualified" score of 11 and a "not qualified" ranking from 48 lawyers.
OHIO ELECTION RESULTS:
Ohio provisional ballots may decide presidential election
Voters repeal amendment on gay rights
Ohio Supreme Court: GOP's justices appear to be buttressing majority
Voinovich has no trouble winning 2nd Senate term
Sycamore levy passes; four others fail
Kerry effort falls short in Ohio
Ohio Republicans aim to maintain grip in House, Senate
Ohio election briefs
Ohio Issue 1 passes
Turnout heavy in suburbs
MU students hit the polls
HAMILTON CO. RACES
Cincinnati school levy passes
Hospital tax leading despite opposition
CLERMONT CO. RACES
Clermont County: Republicans remain choice in early count
Clermont County tax issues: Long lines delay counting
BUTLER CO. RACES
Fairfield levy passes
Butler commission: All incumbents being returned
Butler levies: Support strong for health, social care funding
Butler County Sheriff: Jones likely successor to Gabbard
WARREN CO. RACES
Heavy turnout, long lines delay vote count
Kings levy passes by slim margin
Indiana governor: Daniels prevails after tough, costly slugfest
Ballot misprint may affect Ind. school board race
KENTUCKY ELECTION RESULTS:
Alexandria: Voters stick with City Council's six incumbents
Bellevue City Council: Two incumbents losing seats with 4 of 5 precincts counted
Covington: Sanders and Stricker joining City Commission
Campbell County: Ward holds on to retain seat on Circuit Court
Florence City Council: One newcomer, five incumbents win seats
Independence: Four who opposed insurance tax win
Newport: Mayor, all four on council will be keeping their seats
Suburban schools: Campbell, other area boards get fresh faces
Villa Hills, Taylor Mill: Taxes to fix, replace city streets rejected
Urban schools: Newcomer ousts incumbent, snags Newport board seat
N. Ky. election briefs
Popular president dominates Kentucky
Ky. Senate: Bunning wins - but race was close
Ky. House: This time around, Davis prevails
Issue One: Kentucky overwhelmingly says yes to no-gay-marriage
State's determined voters brave long lines, waits, rain
23rd Senate District: Westwood survives challenge by Groob
Ex-Gov. Carroll wins Frankfort seat
State Senate: Republican Thayer wins a full term in new seat
67th House District: Keene's win preserves spot for Democrats
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Help Habitat by hiring yard rakers
Father inspired mission journey
Cone throw may bring legal action
Police dogs could get TV time at competition
Harrison man charged in auto fatals
Exhibit to spotlight 350 years of Judaism in America
Medal of Honor graves get special markers
Local news briefs
Neighbors news briefs
Good Things Happening
Gay Weber designed jet engines for GE
Time of change in Crestview Hills
Waltz or swing, timid students learn to let go
Florence Freedom has a deal
$545,000 grant to bolster Ky. health-care work force
N. Ky. news briefs
Jewelry gone after autopsy of corpse
N.Ky. schools' education guide available online
Murder counts filed in wreck that killed 2