Mann tops Fernandez for judicial seat
Two candidates headed into the 2010 general election in a runoff race for one judicial seat, but only one man came out the winner Tuesday.
Frank Mann Jr. won the Group 3 County Court Judge seat by taking 78,810 votes, or 56.48 percent of the total number of ballots cast. He defeated Miguel C. Fernandez III, who took 60,725 votes, or 43.52 percent of the total tallied.
Mann first congratulated his opponent on running a good campaign.
“He’s a good guy and an excellent lawyer,” he said.
Fernandez expressed mixed emotions.
“Obviously, we’re a little disappointed, but we have a lot to be thankful for and a lot to be grateful for,” he said.
According to Fernandez, early results from the Lee County Elections Office showed about 25 percent of those who voted did not cast a ballot in his race.
“I think that’s very disappointing,” he said.
“They either didn’t feel comfortable with the race,” Fernandez said, adding that it was listed toward the end. “Or they may have skipped it altogether.”
Mann attributed his win to his accomplishments over the last 40 years.
“I try to contribute and be involved when I can,” he said.
According to Mann, every judge faces the challenge of efficiently managing his or her docket. With his work experience as an engineer, Mann hopes to move his cases efficiently through the court system without getting bogged down.
“They are so crowded. There are so many people seeking justice,” he said. “I’m big on efficiency.”
Fernandez thanked his supporters and family.
“This was a courageous endeavor,” he said. “Obviously, we were against a Goliath of a name. Hats off to Frank for pulling out the victory.”
As for whether he will run again for a judicial seat, Fernandez was unsure.
“You never say never, that’s one thing,” he said.
“The races, these situations take a lot out of you personally,” Fernandez added, “but it’s still a dream of mine.”
Mann and Fernandez were the top two vote-getters in the August primary election, beating out their opponents Robert Branning and David Shestokas. Mann took 47.59 percent of the votes, and Fernandez won 24.18 percent.
Lee County Court Judge seats have a term of six years.
Judge races are nonpartisan so all voters, regardless of what political party they are registered with, can cast a ballot. If a candidate garners a majority vote, 50 percent plus one vote, in the primary, they are declared the winner.