From left, Montgomery County Circuit Court Judges Carlos Acosta, Theresa Chernosky, Kathleen Dumais and Rachel McGuckian Credit: File photo

This story was updated at 9:40 a.m. on July 20, 2022 to include the latest vote totals

Four incumbent Montgomery County Circuit Court judges were leading in both the Democratic and Republican primaries, according to early voting and election day results released Tuesday night.

Incumbent judges Kathleen Dumais, Carlos Acosta, Theresa Chernosky and Rachel McGuckian were all appointed by Gov. Larry Hogan in recent years to replace judges Gary Bair, Ronald Rubin, Cynthia Callahan and Robert Greenberg.

Under Maryland law, judges must stand for election to a 15-year-term in the next general election occurring at least one year after a governor appoints them to a court. Judges races are nonpartisan, and the top four finishers in each party’s primary move on to the general election in November.

Dumais is a former state delegate and Rockville attorney, Acosta was previously a Montgomery County District Court judge, Chernosky was a public defender in Montgomery County for 20 years, and McGuckian was a private attorney with Miles & Stockbridge for 25 years.

Challenging the incumbents were Thomas P. Johnson III and Marylin Pierre, private attorneys in Washington, D.C., and Rockville respectively. Johnson and Pierre also unsuccessfully ran in the 2020 judges’ race.

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As of Wednesday morning, the vote totals in the Democratic primary with 246 of 258 election-day precincts reporting were :

Acosta: 41,346 (19.49%)

Chernosky: 42,518 (20.04%)

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Dumais: 45,907 (21.64%)

Johnson: 14,896 (7.02%)

McGuckian: 40,692 (19.18%)

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Pierre: 26,780 (12.62%)

And the vote totals in the Republican primary were:

Acosta: 8,428 (19.81%)

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Chernosky: 8,236 (19.36%)

Dumais: 8,905 (20.93%)

Johnson: 4,825 (11.34%)

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McGuckian: 8,175 (19.22%)

Pierre: 3,973 (9.34%)

Maryland has used a vetting process since the 1970s when governors appoint judges. The process involves having attorneys complete a lengthy application about their background and work experience. Then, nominating commissions send the applications to bar associations and separate judicial selection committees for review. The judicial selection committees also interview judge candidates.

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Both Pierre and Johnson previously said during the campaign that they had participated in the vetting process for judgeships multiple times, but were unsuccessful each time.

In 2020, Pierre advanced to the general election but ultimately lost. She became a controversial figure after accusing the incumbents in that year’s race on Twitter of being an “in-group” and being “related by marriage.” A few days before the general election, the incumbents got a temporary restraining order against Pierre and her surrogates after one of Pierre’s campaign workers allegedly falsely claimed that Pierre was a judge. Pierre said at the time she wasn’t aware of the incident. The order prohibited Pierre and her campaign workers from referring to her as a judge.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

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