Mecklenburg District Judge John Totten, who was censured for misconduct and criticized for his performance on the bench, lost his bid for re-election Tuesday.
Charlotte lawyers David Strickland and Kary Watson ousted Totten and will face each other in the November general election.
With 184 of 195 precincts reporting, Strickland had 37.25 percent of the vote; Watson 31.87 percent. Ben Thalheimer, a former judge, got 17.09 percent of the vote. Totten received 13.79 percent.
Totten was censured in March by the N.C. Supreme Court for misconduct in his handling of a 2010 drunken driving case. The judge was accused of throwing out a drunken-driving defendants alcohol level so the man wouldnt be punished as harshly as state law requires.
The 54-year-old judge got bad ratings for his performance on the bench in a statewide survey of lawyers conducted by the N.C. Bar Association. Totten received a below-average score 2.03 on a scale of 1 to 5 for his overall performance on the bench. He received a 1.98 score for integrity and impartiality.
The Bar Association also conducted a statewide survey of the lawyers seeking to oust judges or running for judgeships where the incumbents are not seeking re-election.
Watson had the highest marks among the three lawyers seeking to unseat Totten. She received an overall performance rating of 4.18. Stricklands performance rating was 3.88.
Watson has spent the past 10 years handling family court issues, representing hundreds of mothers, fathers and children. Strickland has spent his entire 10-year legal career working in Mecklenburgs district courts.
In the other local judicial race, Roy Wiggins and Gary Henderson had the most votes among the five lawyers seeking to replace retiring Mecklenburg District Judge Tom Moore.
Wiggins and Henderson will face each other in November.
With 184 of 195 precincts reporting, Wiggins had 28.59 percent of the vote; Henderson had 28.25 percent.
Three other lawyers Cam Scott, Rod Wright and T.C. Romain also were running. Scott had 20.46 percent of the vote; Wright 14.80 percent; and Romain 7.90 percent.