James Fredericka says his victory in the primary election over two opponents for Trumbull County Probate Court judge was a testimony to the hard work of his team of supporters getting his message out to voters.
Fredericka, a first-time candidate, received 51.8 percent of the vote, Patricia Knepp received 38.7 percent, and William M. Flevares 9.5 percent in incomplete, unofficial results on Tuesday. The Board of Elections must certify official results by May 27.
Because no Republican filed for the race for probate judge, Fredericka will not have an opponent in November's general election.
Tribune Chronicle photos / R. Michael Semple
Probate judge candidate James A. Fredericka, left, shakes the hands of longtime former Trumbull County Judge Donald R. Ford Sr., retired from the 11th District Court of Appeals, while thanking Ford for his support during the primary election.
Longtime Probate Judge Thomas A. Swift was unable to run for reelection because of age limits.
"Running in an election is very different than working as a lawyer, because working as an attorney is very much an individual effort. A candidate cannot be successful without help,'' Fredericka said.
''I had people around me who educated me on the election process. I could not have done with without getting the party endorsement," he said.
Fredericka said he decided to run in this election because he believed there is a tremendous need to provide service to the county's aging population and to young people with special needs.
"I have experience in these areas," he said.
Fredericka said he plans to begin an outreach program for the county's seniors so they can better understand the probate court.
"There are a number of cost-effective vehicles for them to protect their finances," he said. "We also will work to streamline the court and improve upon what has been done."
Fredericka said Swift did a lot to improve the court and he hopes to continue that tradition.
"There is no reason we cannot make this the best probate court in all Ohio," Fredericka said.
Fredericka has been practicing law for 35 years, primarily in civil court.
"I believe my experience will help me as a judge," Fredericka said. "It is important for judges to have a broad range of experiences. I'm hopeful that my experiences from municipal courts to the Supreme Court will help in my decisions."
During the campaign, Knepp said she wanted to establish an indigency program to assist with costs or even waif some fees for people who qualify.
Flevares said he wanted to establish a more effective mediation program.