Incumbent Medina County Domestic Relations Court Judge Mary Kovack defeated Republican challenger Heidi Carroll, a local attorney, according to unofficial election results.
“I would like to thank Medina County voters for giving me the opportunity to continue the important work that we do at the courthouse and to keep my team in place,” Kovack said Tuesday evening.
Kovack said she is proud of the fact that her campaign did not participate in the political mudslinging that has permeated local and state campaigns.
“I am very proud of the fact that we ran a very positive campaign and I think we did a fine job of actually getting our message out about what the court does and how we do the job,” Kovack said.
According to unofficial election results, Kovack won 32,721 votes and Carroll received 29,362 votes, or 53 percent to 47 percent.
Kovack ran on the message of letting her record speak for her. Kovack previously said the county’s Domestic Relations Court handled 4,006 cases during 2017 alone, the largest docket in the county, and as judge she has completed 56,000 cases in her career.
“I think experience matters,” Kovack said during the campaign.
Kovack said this was her first time facing an opponent in an election during the era of social media, and that was challenging.
“You wake up with a lot of negativity,” she said. “That is difficult.”
Kovack previously served as president of the Ohio Association of Domestic Relations Judges and the Medina County Bar Association and taught at the Ohio Judicial College.
Carroll said Tuesday evening that she is appreciative of those that supported her during the campaign.
“I am truly grateful for everybody that has turned out to vote for me and I thank them for their support,” she said.
Getting out and meeting with voters on the campaign trail was one of the best parts of campaigning for judge, Carroll said.
“I’ve met so many wonderful people throughout the adventure,” she said.
During the campaign, Carroll was critical of the way Kovack runs the courtroom. She said she would have liked to see online court docket access in an effort to make the court more transparent and cost effective.
“This is 2018,” Carroll said. “Transparency is important.”
When Carroll filed to run as a judge, a protest was filed that questioned whether she had the necessary six years of legal experience to run, as required under the Ohio Revised Code.
“Those protests are nothing more than poorly disguised attacks against me by Judge Kovack’s own employees and supporters, who are afraid that Judge Kovack will not be re-elected on her dismal record unless she runs unopposed,” Carroll said in a statement in February.
Kovack said in an October email to The Gazette that neither she nor her staff protested Carroll’s candidacy.
Secretary of State Jon Husted ruled in March that Carroll met the statutory requirements to run for judge.
Kovack said one of the things she is most looking forward to as she begins her fourth consecutive term in office is addressing the rise in guardian ad litem cases that involve aunts, uncles, grandparents or other relatives due to drug use and parents who cannot raise their children.
“… It is difficult, it wasn’t created for those kinds of situations,” Kovack said.
“I want to work really seriously on ways to find programs similar to what we have, but geared toward folks in those kinds of situations.”