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Tom Rooney applies for county judgeship in Palm Beach

Once U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney wraps up his final term in Washington, he may have a spot waiting on the bench instead.

The Palm Beach County Bar Association reports Rooney among the list of applicants for a county court vacancy created by Dana Santino’s removal from the bench in July.

“I’ve been thinking about this for a while, trying to prepare for life after Congress,” Rooney told Sunshine State News. “And then a few weeks ago this vacancy came up.”

The Okeechobee Republican surprised the political world in February when he announced he would not seek re-election in Florida’s 17th Congressional District.

Interestingly, his nine-county district no longer includes any part of Palm Beach County, but Rooney told Sunshine State News that he and his family rent a place in Palm Beach Gardens, and he will buy a home in Palm Beach County as soon as he sells a house in Washington, D.C.

Rooney graduated from the University of Miami School of Law in 1999 and remains a member in good standing with the Florida Bar.

Rooney and 31 other applicants for the county post will interview with the Judicial Nominating Commission on Aug. 27. Rooney has been assigned a 10-minute time frame shortly after 1:30 p.m. to make his case.

The commission will then send a list of up to six names for consideration, and Gov. Rick Scott will appoint one to the bench.

The judge seat opened up after Santino was removed from the bench by the Florida Supreme Court for violating judicial canons during her 2016 campaign for office, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Rooney was first elected to the U.S. House in 2008, when he beat Democratic incumbent Tim Mahoney. Since then, he’s comfortably won re-election in the expansive district.

Rooney’s heavily Republican Congressional district is expected to stay in Republican hands.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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