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Incumbent Lisa Swenski prevails in crowded Domestic Relations Judge's race

  • Lisa-Swenski
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    Charlita Anderson-White, center, talks with supporters Leona Grigsby, left, of Oberlin, and Jeanette Willis, of Lorain, at a watch party at The Feve in Oberlin May 8.

    STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE

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    Jack Bradley (candidate for Domestic Relations and Juvenile Judge) checks the incoming results for the election on Tuesday night, May 8.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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    Mike Duff (candidate for domestic relations judge) checks elections results as they start to come in on Tuesday night, May 8.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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Domestic Relations Judge Lisa Swenski held off three challengers and was re-elected for six more years.

Swenski received 32 percent of the vote, or 6,552 votes, according to unofficial election results from the Lorain County Board of Elections. Magistrate Charlita Anderson White received 27.22 percent (5,572 votes), defense attorney Jack Bradley received 26.39 percent (5,402 votes) and defense attorney Michael Duff received 14.39 percent (2,947 votes).

Swenski didn’t return requests for comment Tuesday night. She faces no challengers in November, so the primary was the de facto general election for the race.

Catch up on other Lorain County races with these related links.

Swenski’s first term as judge was fraught with controversy as she has appeared on the TV show “Dr. Phil,” on which she suggested she had been hypnotized by an attorney; she sent text messages to a fellow judge who considered them threatening; and she tried to get the executive director of the Lorain County Bar Association fired from her position.

Anderson White was proud of the way she ran her campaign.

“I think our team and our effort deserves a great deal of respect. We did a phenomenal job. I’m proud to have stood up for something I believed in,” she said. “I wanted to make this a better court. I hope that what we three candidates did strikes as a very clear message to the judge that it is very important to find a way to create a stable and a consistent approach to the bench. I wanted to be that for Lorain County, but the voters have spoken. I’m satisfied with that.”

Most importantly, Anderson White said, her 87-year-old mother was able to vote for her.

Anderson White said another run for judge could be in her future, but it’s too early to make that call.

“If an opportunity comes up, and I believe that it is for me, I certainly believe I have it in me to be a judge in Lorain County,” she said. “I believe that our next effort will be a successful one, if in fact,we do that.”

Bradley said he was fine with the results.

“For me, it’s a win either way. I think I had a good time running for political office, and it was a great experience,” Bradley said. “I had some great people working with me, and they all did a great job. I have a great business, so I guess I don’t get to take a pay cut.”

Bradley said he’s not planning on retiring from his private practice and he plans to “continue to do service to the community as a defender of citizens who are accused.”

He also said he’s proud of the campaign he ran.

“I’m glad that I ran a very honest and above-board campaign,” Bradley said. “I think that’s the way to do a campaign. I didn’t criticize any of my opponents, and I didn’t try to sling any mud at anyone. That’s the way I’m going to continue to practice law.”

Duff, though, confirmed what many suspected about his reasons for running in the election.

“Mission accomplished,” Duff said. “I didn’t want attorney Bradley to be a judge, and I got it accomplished. I didn’t want the crony network in Lorain at 520 Broadway (Ave.) to pick the judges. I got in it for the sole reason of messing him up. He would have beaten Swenski if I’m not in that race. I’m glad he lost.”

Bradley said he would take the high road and not comment on Duff’s statement. Anderson White, however, wasn’t happy.

“That’s a shame. All these months I’ve been explaining to the voters my qualifications and my ideas for the court,” she said. “I’ve had stellar answers during forums to let the voters know how serious I am about this position. I was a serious candidate. If you are not a serious candidate, you should not be in the race.

“If you’re not a serious candidate, and you don’t want to make serious changes in the court, and you’re not serious about being a judge, then you shouldn’t have wasted the taxpayers’ time and money.”

Contact Scott Mahoney at 329-7146 or smahoney@chroncilet.com. Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.


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