Two South Florida judges held onto their posts, while a former judge was defeated a second time, and an assistant public defender won a seat on the bench.
In Miami-Dade’s sole county court race, Judge Andrea Wolfson defeated family law practitioner Greer Elaine Wallace 54 percent to 46 percent Tuesday. Wolfson was a Miami-Dade prosecutor when she was appointed to the bench in 2010, and she was on the ballot this year for the first time.
“I’m humbled by the overall support by voters in Miami-Dade County and look forward to continuing to serve the community,” Wolfson said Wednesday after handling a full morning docket.
In Broward, civil litigator Laura Marie Watson outdistanced former Circuit Judge Julio E. Gonzalez Jr. in their circuit court race 51 percent to 49 percent. Two months ago, Watson, a former bank and insurance attorney and prosecutor, trailed Gonzalez by 7 percentage points in a four-way primary. Gonzalez was appointed to the circuit bench in 2006 but lost the 2008 election.
Broward County Court Judge Robert “Bob” Diaz defeated foreclosure defense lawyer Roshawn Banks 59 percent to 41 percent. Diaz almost won re-election in the August primary with 49.7 percent of the vote but needed 50 percent to avoid a runoff. Banks also lost a 2010 bid to become a judge.
“It feels really good. It was a lot of hard work that really paid off,” said Diaz, who went to early-voting sites for 92 of the 96 hours they were open, playing hooky only once for a Miami Heat game.
Broward Assistant Public Defender Olga Levine, who finished second in the primary, defeated civil litigator Robert “Bob” Nichols 52 percent to 48 percent for a county court judgeship. She monitored the vote tabulations on the Internet instead of television.
“My cable was out. I was like — Really? Tonight?” she said.
Levine credited Facebook for spreading her campaign message, noting voters she met posted their impressions of her online.
“I think it really helped. Everyone has [Facebook] friends,” she said.
Broward State Attorney Mike Satz, who has been in office since 1976, easily defeated criminal defense attorney Jim Lewis 69 percent to 31 percent to win a 10th term.
In the Palm Beach County state attorney’s race to fill a vacancy, former Democratic state Senator Dave Aronberg got 58 percent of the vote to best former Miami federal prosecutor Dina A. Keever, who garnered 38 percent, and criminal defense lawyer Robert Gershman at 4 percent. The seat opened early when first-term State Attorney Michael McAuliffe resigned to join Oxbow Corp.