I was very happy to be able to vote for myself in early voting for the March 3 primary. I’m running as a Democrat, so, naturally, I pulled the Democratic ballot. The thing is, though, the only options I had were for President and the County Commission, District 4. I talked about those votes here, if you care to see.
There were important races on the Republican ballot too. There was the Republican Presidential primary (spoiler, I wouldn’t have voted for the incumbent). There are the two Republicans also running for County Commission, District 4. I have thoughts here, but I’ll keep the amateur punditry to myself for now.
But, a few of races on the Republican ballot also serve to be the actual elections in some races, since there is no Democratic candidate waiting to take the winners on in the August 6 general election. Your next Knox County Criminal Court Judge, 6th Judicial District, Division II; Public Defender, 6th Judicial District; Assessor of Property; and County Law Director will be decided by the Republican ballot on March 3. So, I thought I would offer my “endorsement” and state who I would have voted for if I had taken the Republican ballot.
Criminal Court Judge is between Kyle Hixson and Wesley Stone. I’m friends with the former on Facebook and I heard the latter speak at an event where I also voted. I assume they’re both competent lawyers capable of doing the job. Hixson is a former prosecutor and Stone did criminal defense. I was once the military equivalent of a public defender and am partial to criminal defense. Didn’t like doing the prosecution stuff. If I have the choice in these type of races, I always vote for the defense over the prosecution. I think we need more defense perspective on the bench, so I would vote for Stone.
Public Defender is between Eric Lutton and Rhonda Lee. I met Lutton at a Campaign 101 class I took and he was friendly. He has worked in the Public Defender’s office. He also went to Ball State University (shout out Prof Mondo). Downside is the name dropping of endorsements on his campaign website and the fact that he was appointed by Governor Lee to the job. I don’t know candidate Lee, except what I’ve read on her campaign website. She seems qualified to do the job. I have a rule that, all other things being equal, I vote for the female candidate, because we need more women in elected office. I think both would be good choices, but things aren’t exactly equal and, with the experience in the office, I would probably vote for Lutton.
Assessor of Property is John Whitehead and Tina Marshall. I know that Whitehead is the incumbent and seems to have more experience than Marshall. I met Marshall at an event where we were both speaking. Whitehead has the experience, but minus points for being an incumbent. I would vote for Marshall.
Law Director is between David Buuck and Cathy Quist-Shanks. Buuck is Chief Deputy Law Director. But he doesn’t really have an online presence. Quist-Shanks was previously Deputy Law Director in the 90s and, more recently, she was the County Circuit Court Clerk for 20 years. All else being equal here, I would vote for Quist-Shanks.
How about in four years, we get some young Democratic attorneys (and assessors) to run so that everyone can have a choice in these important positions?