Second filing period open for empty judge seatA seven-day window opened Friday for candidates to submit petitions in a Washington County judicial race left vacant after a judge’s retirement and another candidate’s withdrawal.
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
A seven-day window opened Friday for candidates to submit petitions in a Washington County judicial race left vacant after a judge’s retirement and another candidate’s withdrawal.
The vacancy was created after a sitting judge and his clerk each filed to run for the judgeship and then pulled their names.
Judge Thomas Armstrong filed for re-election May 18, the first day of a two-week state election filing period. Clerk Dawn Hennessy then filed to run for the position on Tuesday, the last day of the filing period.
Candidates have two days to withdraw their names after the normal filing period. Armstrong did that Wednesday, when he also submitted a retirement letter to Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s office. Hennessy later withdrew her name.
Neither could be reached for comment. Armstrong was first elected to the bench in 1980. Hennessy is a veteran law clerk.
With no candidates for the judicial seat, local and state elections officials scrambled to determine how to proceed.
Kevin Corbid, Washington County Property Records and Taxpayer Services director, said Friday that occasionally there will be a township board race or a soil and water conservation district seat “where just nobody files,” prompting write-in candidacies.
“The uniqueness of this one was it doesn’t usually happen for judge seats, obviously, and secondly, we had (two) filers but they all withdrew, which is not the norm,” Corbid said.
State law identified it as a vacancy in nomination for the seat, prompting a seven-day period in which candidates can submit petitions to run for the judgeship. They must collect 500 signatures from eligible voters in the 10th Judicial District, which includes Washington, Anoka, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Pine, Sherburne and Wright counties.
The deadline for petitions is 5 p.m. June 10.
Candidates must be 21 years old by Jan. 3, 2011, licensed to practice law in Minnesota and not already filed for another office on the Nov. 2 ballot.
Election officials will verify any candidate petitions before placing names on the November ballot. There will be no primary election for the seat.
If no valid petitions are filed, the seat will be filled by write-in candidacy.