- By Michael Cooper Staff Writer
A local magistrate will challenge a recently appointed judge at the polls in May to become the next Clark County Juvenile Court Judge — a position that handles cases for more than 4,000 children annually with a more than $4.5 million general fund budget.
Republican Katrine Lancaster, a magistrate with the Domestic Division of the Clark County Commons Pleas Court, has filed to run against Juvenile Court Judge Robert Vaughn, also a Republican.
The judicial seat will be the lone contested race in the countywide primary election on May 8, pending certification by the Clark County Board of Elections. Petitions for those wishing to run for office were due Wednesday.
The board will meet at 10 a.m. Feb. 13 to certify petitions. Residents who want to run as independent candidates in the Nov. 6 general election must file petitions by 4 p.m. May 7.
If petitions are approved, two current Republican county office holders will face Democratic challengers in the November general election.
Moorefield Twp. Democrat Pamela Dixon will challenge Republican two-term Clark County Commissioner Rick Lohnes. Springfield Democrat John Young will challenge Republican two-term Clark County Auditor John Federer. None of the candidates could be reached for comment on Thursday.
Both Lancaster and Vaughn applied to replace longtime Juvenile Court judge Joseph Monnin, who retired mid-term last year after 22 years on the bench.
Vaughn was selected by Gov. John Kasich and was appointed in October to fill the remainder of Monnin’s term, which runs through the end of this year.
Vaughn, a South Charleston resident, spent seven years as a staff attorney at the Ohio Supreme Court and then worked in private practice at Cedarville University. He previously ran for the Second District Court of Appeals in 2014 and was defeated.
“I love what I do and I want to keep doing it,” Vaughn said. “It’s a great honor to be appointed to the court, especially taking over for Judge Monnin, who did a great job for so many years. It’s a great staff here and I love coming to work every day.”
Lancaster, a South Charleston resident, has worked as a magistrate in Clark County since 2000, according to the Ohio Association of Magistrates. She also worked for eight years at the Clark County Department of Job and Family Services.
“My whole career has been based on families in Clark County,” she said. “I’ve done that for 26 years. I feel like I have the experience to do that job and I have a real passion for it.”
The winner of the primary will move on to the November general election unopposed, meaning the seat will likely be decided in May.
The juvenile court, a division of the Clark County Common Pleas Court, has more than 80 employees. The judge oversees both the juvenile clerk of court’s office and the detention center, which employs cooks, teachers, bailiffs, stenographers and other administrative positions. Monnin’s salary was set at about $133,000 annually, per Ohio statute. The juvenile judge handles a variety of cases, including delinquency, paternity, traffic and custody.
Lohnes is a a graduate of Shawnee High School and spent 34 years in the U.S. Air Force. He was an Ohio Air National Guard fighter pilot and retired as a colonel.
Dixon is the president of Indivisible Springfield, an organization “dedicated to resisting the Trump agenda by engaging in grassroots activism,” according to its website.
Federer, a former bank president with more than 30 years of executive and business experience, is an Ohio State University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in real estate and finance.
Young, a Wittenberg University instructor, is also a board member of the Clark County Facilities Convention Authority.
Clark County Common Pleas Court judge Thomas Capper will be unopposed in the May primary and the November general election.
Capper was first appointed to the Clark County Court of Common Pleas in June 1998 by then-Gov. George Voinovich and since that time, he’s been elected to three straight six-year terms. Capper received his bachelor’s and law degrees from Ohio Northern University.
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