Four incumbent Montgomery County Circuit Court judges had a strong lead in their race against a challenger Tuesday night.
Judges Bibi Berry, Christopher Fogleman, David Boynton and Michael McAuliffe had a strong lead over the fifth candidate, Marylin Pierre, in the race for four judicial seats.
The four sitting judges all were appointed or reappointed by Gov. Larry Hogan.
As of 12:49 a.m., according to the Montgomery County Board of Elections:
• Berry had 202,626 votes
• Boynton had 185,840 votes
• McAuliffe had 183,862 votes
• Fogleman had 177,540 votes
Pierre was in fifth place with 127,099 votes.
The four incumbent judges ran together as a slate called “Elect Sitting Judges.”
In Maryland, the governor appoints a judicial nominating commission to vet and nominate Circuit Court judge candidates when a vacancy occurs. The governor reviews the nominations and appoints judges to the court.
Judges then stand for election for 15-year-terms in the first election year following their appointment to the court.
Residents vote for four candidates, and the top four finishers win.
Republican and Democratic voters each voted on the same candidates in each party’s respective primary on June 2.
The four sitting judges received the most votes in the Republican race. In the Democratic race, Pierre finished third, earning her a spot on the general election ballot.
The sitting judges criticized Pierre during the campaign due to the fact that she applied multiple times to be on the county’s judicial nominating commission but was not selected. Pierre has argued the judicial nomination process has been biased against her.
Pierre has also alleged that the sitting judges are part of an “in group” and that some have worked at the same law firm, are related by marriage and go to the same church.
Most recently, the incumbent judges got a restraining order against Pierre after they alleged that a volunteer with Pierre’s campaign referred to her as a judge. Pierre said she has never referred to herself that way and if a campaign volunteer did, it was an error.
Dan Schere can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org