Margaret Quinn is the unofficial winner in a tight, eight-way race to be the next judge of Oakwood Municipal Court.
With seven of seven precincts reporting:
Quinn has 22.8 percent of the vote;
Chris Epley, 20.6 percent;
Chris Conard, 19.4 percent;
Michael Hochwalt, 16 percent;
Brian Huelsman, 10 percent;
Richard Lipowicz, 6 percent;
Ward Barrentine, 3 percent;
and Sara Hein, 2.2 percent.
“I wanted this position badly,” said Quinn, a Magistrate at the Miamisburg Municipal Court and a retired federal prosecutor who also does pro bono work. “I think it’s kind of the culmination of my experience and my job. There were a lot of good people who were running for it. It would mean, to me, a lot and I would work very hard to do it.”
The contest to replace 72-year-old retiring Judge Robert Deddens has been marked by mostly friendly candidate forums and contestant yard signs dotting nearly all of Oakwood’s streets, sometimes with more than one sign in a family’s lawn. There are about 7,000 eligible voters (out of 9,202 people) in Oakwood.
By statute, Oakwood judge job is part-time and pays $67,150 — 60 percent paid for by Oakwood and 40 percent by the county — for a schedule that includes includes a Thursday docket and rare Friday trials. Since Quinn will be one of just 15 part-time municipal court judges in Ohio, she is allowed to continue her Miamisburg magistrate job on Tuesdays.
Oakwood Municipal Court serves the smallest municipal court population and second-smallest caseload in Ohio. The city’s residents subsidize the court by $80,000 annually. The candidates agreed that as much as half of the $80,000 could be made up by increasing fees, fines and court costs.
Deddens, who served for 23 years, did not give an endorsement.
Ohio law prohibits local boards of election from counting provisional and late-arriving absentee ballots until 10 days after the election to allow provisional voters to provide missing information or absentee voters to correct mistakes on the identification envelope. A race could be in limbo until after Nov. 26 if the number of outstanding ballots to be counted exceeds the margin of victory.