Some familiar names from judicial races past — Greg Wersal, Jill Clark, Tim Tingelstad and Dan Griffith, for instance — are missing from this year’s election lineup.
Instead, Justice David Lillehaug faces a challenge from a rookie candidate.
West St. Paul attorney Michelle Macdonald is challenging Lillehaug. Her website is a GoDaddy page only. Macdonald does represent private clients and has been admitted since 1987. She is the founder of the Family Innocence Nonprofit Project.
An attorney named John Hancock has filed against Justice Wilhelmina Wright. An attorney with the same name ran for a Supreme Court seat 14 years ago. Hancock’s filing does not include a website or an address. There is an attorney named John Hancock admitted in Minnesota who lists a Nebraska address with the court; he could not be reached for comment. He does not represent private clients and has been admitted since 1983.
There are no challenges to the Court of Appeals seats.
But there will be primaries in the 4th and 7th Districts, and other contested races as well. There are three open seats in the 4th District. Seven candidates have filed for the seat being vacated by Janet Poston: Daniel Cragg, Mark Gabriel Giancola, Brian C. Hagerty, Jason T. Hutchinson, Glen A. Norton, Paul Scoggin and Bridget Ann Sullivan. Hutchinson is a housing and criminal court referee in Hennepin County.
Giancola is a criminal defense attorney in Anoka. There is one attorney in Minnesota named Bridget Sullivan, and an attorney named Bridget Sullivan works at the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Daniel Cragg apparently is an attorney at Eckland & Blando in Minneapolis. Hagerty was a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice David Stras until he filed for office. Scoggin is an assistant Hennepin County attorney, and Norton apparently is an attorney with Henningson & Snoxell in Maple Grove.
Two candidates have filed for Judge Jane Ranum’s seat: Bev Benson, an assistant Hennepin County attorney, and Chris Ritts, apparently a criminal defense and personal injury lawyer in Minneapolis.
Five candidates filed for Judge Robert Small’s seat. Steve Antolak is a solo practitioner who ran against Judge Liz Cutter in 2012. Mark Arneson is a criminal defense attorney. Beverly Aho is an attorney with the James Gilbert Law Group. Jean Brandl is a criminal defense attorney and Amy Dawson is the executive director of the Autism Advocacy & Law Center in Minneapolis.
In addition, incumbent Judge James Moore, appointed in 2012, is challenged by Bruce Michael Rivers. Rivers, a criminal defense attorney in Minneapolis, was admitted to practice in 1998.
In the 5th Judicial District, Judge Christina Wietzema is challenged by Windom attorney Nathan Busch. In the 7th Judicial District, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Tribal Court Judge Richard Osburn is challenging incumbent District Court Judge Andrew Pearson.
In the 7th Judicial District, incumbent Judge Steven J. Cahill faces three challengers: Cheryl R. Duysen, an assistant Clay County attorney; Terry Graff and Kenneth Kohler. There is only one attorney named Terry Graff admitted in Minnesota, and he practices in Moorhead. There is only one lawyer named Kenneth Kohler, and he also practices in Moorhead.
In the 10th District, incumbent Judge Susan Miles is challenged by Julie LaFleur, a family law lawyer and mediator. Also, incumbent judge Nancy Logering is challenged by Stacy Lashinski, an attorney and Realtor.