Election contests emerge for four Circuit Court judges in Central Florida

Courtroom Shot
Thirty other Central Florida Circuit judges are returned without election opposition.

Four judicial contests were set for elections while 30 judges were returned to their benches without opposition Friday in Judicial Circuits serving Central Florida, when the judicial ballot qualifying deadline expired for the 2022 elections.

In Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit, serving Orange and Osceola counties, Judges John Beamer and Vincent Chiu drew challengers: Michael Stewart of Orlando and Aldo Bartolone of Bartolone Law of Orlando, respectively.

Also in JC 9, two lawyers have qualified as candidates for an open bench. They are Allison Kerestes of the Kerestes Law Firm in Orlando, and Fay Olga Pappas, with the Bailey Fisher law firm in Winter Park.

In Florida’s 18th Judicial Circuit, serving Seminole and Brevard counties, Chief Judge Jessica Recksiedler drew an election challenge from John Mannion of the Mannion Law firm in Sanford.

Meanwhile, all the judges who did not draw election competition when the qualifying deadline expired at noon Friday were returned to office for fresh six-year terms without having to be elected.

In Florida’s 5th Judicial Circuit, which serves Lake, Citrus, Hernando, Marion and Sumter counties, Judges Ann Melinda Craggs, Thomas Ralph Eineman, Joel Fritton, Robert W. HodgesCary Frank Rada and Donald E. Scaglione all were returned to their judicial benches without having to face election contests.

In Florida’s 7th Judicial Circuit, serving Volusia, Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns counties, Judges Dennis CraigMatt FoxmanKenny Janesk, Howard O. McGillin Jr., A. Kathleen McNeilly, Dawn D. Nichols and Stasia Warren all return without elections.

In JC 9, Chief Judge Lisa T. Munyon and Judges Alice L. Blackwell, Paetra Brownlee, Luis CalderonJames Craner, Robert Egan, Gisela T. LaurentJosh Mize, Patricia Strowbridge and Greg Tynan all return without election competition.

In JC 18, Judges Scott BlaueKelly Jo McKibben, Michelle L. Naberhaus, Michael Joseph RudisillChristina Marie Sanchez Serrano, Christopher Michael Sprysenski and Michelle Pruitt Studstill all return to the benches after not drawing any election opposition.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704