Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Nine Incumbent Judges Lose Municipal Court Seats

General election results show nine challengers beating incumbent municipal court judges in eight Ohio counties, while another two races involving incumbents may be subject to recounts.

In all, 78 municipal court judgeships were up for election Tuesday in 37 counties. About 36 percent of the races were contested.

According to unofficial results, those who were successful in defeating incumbents were:

  • Nicholas A. Iarocci, who replaces incumbent Carl L. DiFranco on the Conneaut Municipal Court in Ashtabula County;
  • Dominic A. Frank, who replaces incumbent Melissa Byers-Emmerling on the East Liverpool Municipal Court in Columbiana County;
  • W. MonĂ¡ Scott, who replaces incumbent Ronald J. O’Leary on the Cleveland Municipal Court, Housing Division, in Cuyahoga County;
  • Jessica D’Varga, who replaces incumbent Amy A. Salerno on the Franklin County Municipal Court;
  • Janaya Trotter Bratton, who replaces the recent appointee Elisa Murphy on the Hamilton County Municipal Court, Division 1;
  • Paul R. Malchesky, who replaces the incumbent James R. O’Leary on the Painesville Municipal Court in Lake County;
  • Gary J. Carter, who replaces incumbent Duane A. Goettemoeller on the Sidney Municipal Court in Shelby County;
  • David Hamilton, who replaces incumbent Ann Marie O’Brien on the Akron Municipal Court in Summit County; and
  • Former Judge Jill Flagg Lanzinger, who replaces incumbent David E. Fish on the Barberton Municipal Court in Summit County.

Additionally, recounts are possible for two races: For Montgomery County Municipal Court with incumbent judge James D. Piergies and challenger Tamela Womack; and for Toledo Municipal Court with incumbent Joshua Lanzinger and challenger Tom Puffenberger. A decision on recounts will be made after the county boards of elections complete their final vote canvasses.

Thirteen municipal court seats decided this week were open seats, because the sitting judges either chose not to run for reelection or were unable to run due to Ohio’s constitutional age limitations for judges. Also, 20 candidates with no prior judicial experience won their races.

Next year will see more than 200 judicial seats up for election in Ohio. Voters in all counties will elect judges for district appellate courts and two seats on the Ohio Supreme Court. Additionally, voters in 84 of the state’s 88 counties will elect local judges for county court or common pleas court. All Ohio judges serve six-year terms.

The candidate filing deadline for the 2020 primary election is Dec. 18, 2019, a couple months earlier than usual due to Ohio’s early primary election date for the presidential election. Primary election day will be March 17, 2020.

Separately, candidates for county court are nominated by petition only. The filing deadline for county court candidates is Aug. 5, 2020.

See for a full listing of all 2019 municipal-court-election winners. In December, the Judicial Votes Count website will begin tracking the 213 judicial seats to be elected in 2020.

Judicial Votes Count is a nonpartisan partnership of Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, the Bliss Institute at the University of Akron, the League of Women Voters of Ohio, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio News Media Association, and the Ohio Association of Broadcasters.