Elections

Mann, Bell and Blake, Hewett lead judge races

Incumbent Christy Mann appears headed to a November showdown with a conservative critic in her bid to keep a seat on the Mecklenburg District Court

With almost 60 percent of the vote counted, Mann led George Bell and James Cyrus with 52.66 percent of the vote.

Bell, of Huntersville, was second with 35.41 percent. Cyrus, a Charlotte attorney, trailed with 11.93 percent.

The top two vote-getters move on to the November ballot to settle the nonpartisan seat.

Meanwhile, veteran public defender Tracy Hewett, and Aretha Blake, president of the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation, led the four-woman field to replace Charlotte Brown-Williams on the District Court.

Hewett, who had been chipping away at Blake’s lead for most of the night, overtook her just before 11 p.m.

But the lead was temporary. With more than 80 percent of the precincts reporting, Blake, at 29.90 percent, held close to a 500-vote lead on Hewett, at 29.52 percent. Both were assured of a rematch in the fall.

Faith Fickling, a Legal Aid attorney, was third with 21.13 percent, while Paulina Havelka was fourth with 19.45 percent.

Mann, the county’s senior Family Court judge, has handled hundreds of cases affecting families and children. She ran on her experience and what she describes as her sense of fairness and a commitment to court efficiency.

Bell, 37, who runs a law firm with his wife, campaigned on a promise to return consistency and conservative values to the bench. He accused Mann and other judges of interpreting the law “to fit their own beliefs.”

The other court race presented a contrast in age and background.

Blake, 37, has received an impressive list of political and legal endorsements. During the campaign she has emphasized her temperament and a 14-year legal career that has been grounded in community service.

Hewett, 57, claims the most criminal-law experience in the field. She has promised to safeguard taxpayer money by running her courtroom efficiently while serving as a patient and active judge.

Michael Gordon: 704-358-5095, @MikeGordonOBS

Results

Mecklenburg District 26 Judge

Top two will decide nonpartisan seat in November

George Bell 35.41%

James Cyrus 11.93%

Christy Mann (i) 52.66%

157 precincts of 195 reporting

Mecklenburg District 26 Judge

Top two will decide nonpartisan seat in November

Aretha Blake 29.90%

Faith Fickling 21.13%

Paulina Havelka 19.45%

Tracy Hewett 29.52%

157 precincts out of 195

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