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Voters oust trial court judge; Carmichael beats party-switching ex-jurist

November 7, 2018

Editor's Note: This article has been updated with a new result in the St. Joseph County probate judge race due to a revised count that included early and absentee ballots.

Southern Indiana voters rejected one trial court judge and narrowly re-elected another who was challenged by a former colleague who changed parties to run against her.

Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Darrell Maurice Auxier, a Democrat, was the lone sitting Indiana trial court judge to lose his bid for re-election Tuesday, according to a review of results posted on the Indiana Secretary of State’s website.

Voters in the southeastern Indiana county defeated Auxier and elected his Republican rival, Jefferson County chief deputy prosecutor D.J. Mote, to the bench in the courthouse in Madison.  Mote won by a margin of 60 percent to 40 percent.

Next door in another Ohio River county, Clark Circuit Judge Vicki Carmichael retained her bench seat in one of Indiana’s closest countywide trial court races Tuesday. Carmichael, a Democrat, withstood a challenge from Republican Daniel Moore, who had been elected a Clark Circuit judge in 2008 when he also ran as a Democrat. Moore was defeated in the Democratic primary in 2014.

On Tuesday, voters returned Carmichael to the Jeffersonville courthouse by a margin of 53 percent to 47 percent against Moore, who this time was on the ballot as a Republican. The race was among the closest contests for circuit, superior and probate judges around the state.

Here are the results of the contested trial court election results around Indiana:

Boone Circuit Court: Republican Lori Schein defeated Libertarian challenger Pam Buchanan by a margin of 67 percent to 33 percent. Schein will succeed retiring Boone Circuit Judge J. Jeffrey Edens.

Brown Circuit Court: Rebublican Mary Wertz will succeed retiring Brown Circuit Judge Judith A. Stewart after defeating Democratic challenger Kristopher Kritzer by a margin of 61.5 percent to 38.5 percent.

Johnson Circuit Court: Republican Andrew S. Roesener won nearly 71 percent of the vote against Democrat Steven L. Kennedy. Roesener will succeed longtime jurist Mark Loyd, who did not seek re-election.

Madison Circuit Court: Republican Andrew Hopper defeated Democrat Rosemary Khoury by a margin of 60 percent to 40 percent. Hopper succeeds one of Indiana’s longest-serving judges, Thomas Newman, Jr., who is retiring. Hopper is the son of another former Madison Circuit Judge, David Hopper, who died in office in 2009.

Monroe Circuit Court: Democrat Darcie L. Fawcett won 60 percent of the vote against Republican Kevin Weldon to win a race for a seat in the Bloomington courthouse. Two other Democrats ran unopposed and were elected as Monroe Circuit judges. Three judges opted not to seek re-election: Teresa Harper, Frances HIll and Marc Kellams.

Posey Circuit Court: Republican Craig Goedde prevailed with 58 percent of the vote against Democrat W. Trent Van Haaften, a former Indiana State Representative. Goedde will replace long-serving Judge James Redwine, who is retiring from the courthouse in Mount Vernon.

St. Joseph Probate Court: Incumbent Republican Judge James N. (Jim) Fox lost to Democratic challenger Jason Cichowicz in the state's closest judicial race. Cichowicz squeaked out a victory by a margin of 50.3 percent to 49.7 percent — fewer than 600 votes out of more than 90,000 cast. The result was revised after St. Joseph County reported updated numbers Wednesday that included some 22,000 early and absentee ballots that had not been initially counted. The probate judgeship race was one of three in the county in which the result was reversed after early and absentee ballots were counted. Initially reported results showed Fox retaining his judgeship by a margin of 53 percent to 47 percent.

White Circuit Court: Republican Jason A. Thompson defeated Democratic challenger Stacey L. Diener by a margin of 54.5 percent to 45.5 percent. Thompson will succeed Judge Robert W. Thacker, who is retiring.

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