Tuesday, Nov 13, 2018
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Zmuda closes out for 6th District Court of Appeals seat

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    Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Gene Zmuda listens to speakers during an event to salute Lucas County Republican Judges at The Toledo Club in September.

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    Joel Kuhlman

    The Blade
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Judge Gene Zmuda won convincingly over Joel Kuhlman in their contest for a seat on the 6th District Court of Appeals bench, which considers appeals from across eight counties.

Judge Zmuda, of Lucas County Common Pleas Court, captured 55.51 percent of the vote compared to 44.49 percent for Mr. Kuhlman.

“I am humbled by having served in Lucas County for 25 years, and the vote totals in Lucas County demonstrate the county’s consistent support of me as an elected official,” Judge Zmuda said.

Judge Zmuda, a Republican and a former member of Toledo City Council, was elected to Toledo Municipal Court in 2003 and was appointed in 2006 by then-Gov. Bob Taft to an open seat on the Lucas County Common Pleas bench. He has been part in the county’s criminal justice reform efforts.

Mr. Kuhlman, a Democrat, was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 2008 and is a former Wood County commissioner and a former member of Bowling Green City Council.

“Judge Zmuda was a fun person to run a campaign with,” Mr. Kuhlman said. “He ran his campaign with integrity and worked hard. I hope I did the same thing.” 

The pair sought an appeals court seat held by Judge James Jensen, a Republican who because of age restrictions could not seek re-election.

For Lucas County Common Pleas Court, Joe McNamara, a Democrat, won 64.38 percent of the vote to defeat Judge Joshua Lanzinger, a Republican, of Toledo Municipal Court, who finished with 35.62 percent. 

Mr. McNamara will succeed Judge James Bates, who could not run again because of his age.

“We worked really hard, and I’m grateful for the voters’ support,” said Mr. McNamara, 41. “I had an amazing team of family and friends behind me that put together a campaign that was exceptional.”

Judge Lanzinger, 46, was elected to Toledo Municipal Court in 2013 and most recently has been administrative and presiding judge. He was part of the MacArthur Foundation criminal justice reform project. 

“I ran a tough race, and so did my opponent,” Judge Lanzinger said. “I’m happy with the results I got. It seems it was tough all around for the Republican party. We just knew it would be a tough race going in.”

The judge won the endorsement of the Toledo Police Command Officers’ Association and the Toledo Police Patrolman’s Association. 

Mr. McNamara is a former president of Toledo City Council. As an attorney, he has represented individuals and businesses and government. He is a senior attorney in the city of Toledo law department. He told The Blade that he wanted to be the type of judge he as an attorney likes to appear before.

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