Incumbents will keep two seats on the Mecklenburg District Court while a first-time candidate narrowly outpolled her opponent for a third.
District Judge Christy Mann defeated challenger George Bell, a Huntersville attorney, 62 percent to 38 percent.
Mann, the county’s senior family court judge, was appointed to the bench in 2005 and was re-elected twice before Tuesday. An expert in family law, she teaches classes to lawyers around the state and mentors new judges.
Bell, a Cornell graduate, got his law degree from Regent University, founded by televangelist Pat Robertson. He runs his own firm, primarily practicing in criminal and DWI defense.
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In a second race, incumbent David Strickland – seeking a second term – defeated Ben Thalheimer, a former judge now in private practice, 63 percent to 37 percent
Strickland is Mecklenburg’s lead juvenile court judge and has presided in family court and in other areas. In a survey by local attorneys, he received the highest overall score of any judicial candidate.
Thalheimer, a former family court judge who was beaten by Bill Belk in 2008, is now in private practice and says children and families in crisis are a passion of his work.
The third race was considerably closer. Aretha Blake led Tracy Hewett, 51 percent to 49 percent, a margin of about 5,400 votes. The Charlotte attorneys, who finished one, two in the primary, are running for the seat of the retiring Charlotte Brown-Williams.
Hewett has been a public defender in Charlotte since 2004. She has worked in the DWI and drug-treatment courts and volunteered as a guardian ad litem.
Blake did a variety of civil litigation in two stints over about six years at Parker Poe. Between those stints, she started her own firm with now-Judge Ty Hands. She was also an assistant dean at Charlotte School of Law from 2011 to 2015.
District court handles family law, juvenile justice, criminal misdemeanors and civil cases involving less than $25,000. Twelve of Mecklenburg’s 21 district judges were on the ballot. Nine were unopposed.
Elected without opposition were Ron Chapman, Jena Culler, Karen Eady-Williams, Ty Hands, Gary Henderson, Donnie Hoover, Elizabeth Thornton Trosch, Kimberly Best-Staton and Louis Trosch.
Tracy Hewett 49.19%
Aretha Blake 50.81%
Christy Mann 62.48%
George Bell 37.52%
David Strickland 62.30%
Ben Thalheimer 37.70%
145 of 195 precincts reporting