By Mike Steely
“I will be filing to run in Division I Sessions Court,” Sarah Keith told The Focus last week, just one day before the February 17 candidate filing deadline.
Keith, a Democrat, will be challenging incumbent Judge Chuck Cerny, Republican, in the August 4th General Election as neither candidate have opponents in the primary. Keith’s petition for Session Judge Division I was filed and accepted at 11:05 a.m., 55 minutes before the deadline Thursday in the Knox County Election office.
The decision on whether to run for Division I or II, both of which she had filed petitions for, was obviously difficult for Keith. She and Judd Davis had been employees of the District Attorney General’s Office, where employees are not permitted to challenge an incumbent judge. Then Division II Session Judge Geoff Emery resigned early and both Keith and Davis voiced an interest to seek that judgeship.
The Knox County Commission‘s seven Republicans voted to appoint Republican Davis to finish Emery’s term. Keith got two votes from the two Democrats on the commission.
Judge Cerny also came to the bench from the District Attorney General’s office by appointment in 1998 and was re-elected without opposition in 2014.
District II’s Judd Davis will be filling out Emery’s term on the bench until August but may face fellow Republican Sharron Frankenberg in the Republican Primary. Both have returned signed petitions for the office; the withdrawal deadline for the primary election in May is February 24.
Attorney Sarah Keith holds a petition for Session Court Judge and, Wednesday, decided on the Division I race. Until then her name was listed for Divisions I and II.