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Judge Seat 2 Candidates Richardson, Smith Boast Support From Local Legal, Political Class

Campaigns have traditionally put judicial candidates in a tricky position. They’re limited in how they campaign. This year only one judicial seat in Leon County is up for grabs, and it has the county’s legal and political community picking sides. 

Legal Services of North Florida managing attorney Monique Richardson is leading when it comes to fundraising. She’s got $20,000 more than incumbent, Judge Layne Smith. Governor Rick Scott appointed Smith to the job last year after Judith Hawkins was removed from the bench. And he’s got most of the county’s legal establishment backing him. Here’s Smith in a video posted to his twitter account.

“A lot of the people who come in front of me don’t have lawyers and they don’t necessarily understand all the criteria applied so I spend a lot of time listening to people and explaining thins to people and helping them as best I can, he says in the video.

“I understand both the legal and non-legal issues that would bring someone to court. And I believe that a judge should have that holistic approach when sitting on the bench,"says Richardson, in a video posted to her campaign website.


Richardson has the backing of people like Bethel AME Pastor R.B. Holmes, and Former State Senator Al Lawson. The candidates have raised more than $170,000 at a time when judicial candidates aren’t allowed to ask for donations. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld that ban last year.

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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