UPDATED: The protracted counting of mail-in ballots led to reversals of early leads by sitting judges in the Democratic primaries of five counties. Six white male judges appointed by Gov. Larry Hogan lost the Democratic primaries to mostly women and Black challengers.
Sitting circuit court judges in Carroll, Charles, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties face general election contests, while current judges in Anne Arundel County survived challenges, according to now official primary election results. This story has been substantially rewritten to reflect the final results.
In a bizarre element of the judicial selection process, judges appointed by the governor run in both the Democratic and Republican primaries in the next election after their appointment and can face challenges by other attorneys. Unaffiliated and third-party voters do not get to vote in the primary for judges, but they can vote for judges in the general election.
In Howard County, Judge John Kuchno was winning both primaries according to preliminary counts the day after the June 3 election. But challenger Quincy Coleman, a Black attorney and former public defender, pulled ahead of Kuchno in the Democratic primary as the county went on. The final official tally had Coleman almost 4,000 ahead in the Democratic primary. Coleman had 18,817 votes to Kuchno’s 14,890.
Kuchno easily won the Republican primary.
In Carroll County, Judge Richard Titus easily won the Republican primary, but was edged out by Laura Morton in the Democratic primary.
In Charles County, Judge Patrick Devine handily won the Republican primary, but lost the Democratic primary to Makeba Gibbs.
In Prince George’s and Montgomery
In Prince George’s County, where there were five sitting judges on the ballot, the situation was even more complicated.
Circuit Court Judge Wytonja Curry came in sixth to challenger Gladys Weatherspoon in the Republican primary. Both are Black women attorneys.
In the Democratic primary in Prince George’s, the two white males judges, Byron Bereano and Jared McCarthy, lost to the five women on the ballot, including challengers Weatherspoon and April Ademiluyi, another women Black attorney. So all five sitting judges plus Weatherspoon and Ademiluyi will be on the November ballot for which all registered voters can cast votes.
In Montgomery County, the four sitting judges easily won the Republican primary. But in the Democratic primary, Judge Christopher Fogleman lost the Democratic primary and challenger Marilyn Pierre, another female black attorney, came in fourth and will be on the November ballot against the sitting judges.
In Anne Arundel County, the four sitting judges won both primaries, surviving a challenge by former Republican State’s Attorney Wes Adams.
In seven other jurisdictions, there were no challengers to the judges on the ballot.