Appointees Shine in Judicial Qualification Poll

Wagner, Rudolph, Nichols, Dandridge win Shelby County lawyers' nods for judge positions on August 2 ballot. Leatherwood picked for Circuit Court Clerk.



The incumbents on the August 2 ballot who had received appointments to fill judicial positions in Shelby County have been endorsed for election in their own right by large margins in the Judicial Qualification Poll of the Memphis Bar Association.

The poll, which was sent to all licensed, practicing attorneys in Shelby County,  whether they were members of the Bar Association or not, asked the recipients to select the one candidate in each race whom they felt was best qualified to serve. There was a “no opinion” option in each race.

Three of the endorsed incumbents were appointed to succeed retirees by Governor Bill Haslam — Judge Mary L. Wagner in Circuit Court, Division VII (succeeding Judge Donna Fields); Judge David Rudolph in Circuit Court, Division IX (succeeding Judge Robert L. "Butch" Childers); and Judge Jennifer Smith Nichols in Criminal Court, Division X (succeeding Judge James C. Beasley).

Patrick M. Dandridge, who was named by the Shelby County Commission to succeed the retiring Judge Larry Potter as Environment Court Judge (General Sessions, Division XIV), also prevailed with a majority of responding lawyers. Tom Leatherwood, the current Register of Deeds, was the lawyers; choice for the position of Circuit Court Clerk.

The poll questions and tabulated results were as follows:

Which candidate is best qualified to serve in Circuit Court, Division VII?

Michael G. Floyd 102 9.37%
Mary L. Wagner 781 71.72%
No Opinion 206 18.92%
TOTAL 1089

Which candidate is best qualified to serve in Circuit Court, Division IX?

Yolanda R. Kight 167 15.32%
David M. Rudolph 811 74.40%
No Opinion 112 10.28%
TOTAL 1090

Which candidate is best qualified to serve in Criminal Court, Division X?

Jennifer Johnson Mitchell 170 15.71%
Jennifer Smith Nichols 598 55.27%
No Opinion 314 29.02%
TOTAL 1082

Which candidate is best qualified to serve in General Sessions, Division XIV (Environmental Court)?

Patrick M. Dandridge 425 39.42%
Robert “Price” Harris 274 25.42%
No Opinion 379 35.16%
TOTAL 1078

Which candidate is best qualified to serve as Circuit Court Clerk?

Temiika D. Gipson 195 18.01%
Tom Leatherwood 715 66.02%
No opinion 173 15.97%
TOTAL 1083

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