Voters in three counties have contested judicial elections on their ballots, with challengers who either made it through the primary process or successfully obtained the nomination of a third party.
Judges are appointed to the circuit court by the governor after being recommended by their local judicial nominating commission. They must later be confirmed in the next general election and can face challengers who bypass the vetting process.
In two jurisdictions, Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties, judges face challengers who received enough votes in one of the parties’ primaries to make it onto November’s ballot. An additional candidate in Prince George’s county is running as a libertarian candidate, as is a challenger in Baltimore County.
The contested election in Baltimore City ended when challenger James B. Kraft, a longtime city councilman, withdrew from the race in August.
Anne Arundel County
Four sitting judges, Glenn Klavans, Stacy W. McCormack, Donna Schaeffer and Cathy Vitale, are challenged by Claudia Barber, a former judge with the federal Office of Administrative Hearings who received enough votes in the Democratic primary to put her on the general election ballot.
The sitting judges were all appointed through the judicial nominating process in 2015 and 2016 and are on the ballot to be retained.
Barber has been through the judicial nominating process in the past but was never recommended. In an interview last month, she said she was running to promote diversity on the bench.
Prince George’s County
There are four seats on the bench in Prince George’s County up for grabs and only three sitting judges on the ballot after Erik H. Nyce, a 2016 appointee, withdrew from the race following low support from voters in the Democratic primary.
Judge Herman C. Dawson has been on the bench for 17 years and was reappointed when his term expired. Judges Karen Holliday Mason and Dorothy Michelle Engel were appointed in 2016.
Ingrid M. Turner, a former member of the Prince George’s County Council who briefly ran for Congress before withdrawing to enter the judicial race, finished second among Democratic voters in the primary.
April T. Ademiluyi, a solo practitioner, ran in the primary but was not one of the top four vote-getters for either party. In August, she secured the nomination of the Libertarian Party after a vetting process with its central committee. Ademiluyi said she did her research on judicial elections before starting the process and “knew it was always an option” to seek a third-party nomination.
The sitting judges were unopposed in the primary but are now challenged by Libertarian Leo Wayne Dymowski, a former candidate for attorney general who opposes career politicians and the judicial nominating process, according to his campaign materials.
Judge Kathleen G. Cox, the circuit’s administrative judge, has served since 1999 and was reappointed to her seat. Judge Keith R. Truffer was appointed in 2016.
Baltimore attorney Andrew I. Alperstein, chair of the Baltimore County Sitting Judges Slate, said a large network of volunteers was mobilized to begin fundraising and campaigning for the judges, calling it “a sprint.”