Incumbent Kathleen “Kitty” Tighe Coriden picked up the Republican nomination for Bartholomew Superior Court 2 Judge Tuesday, even though the last time she ran for office she was a Democrat.
Surprising her party earlier this year, Coriden switched affiliations to run in the Republican primary.
But she still easily finished ahead of Bartholomew County Deputy Prosecutor Greg Long and Columbus City Attorney Jeff Logston to receive the nomination.
Coriden led the entire way Tuesday night, winning the Republican nomination with 3,766 votes, nearly 43 percent of the total vote in the race for judge.
She extended her lead from about 300 votes in early returns to more than 800 votes at the end over Long, her closest challenger.
Long, who was the first candidate to file for the Republican nomination for Superior Court 2, received 2,962 votes (almost 34 percent), followed by Logston with 2,077 (almost 24 percent).
Talking as she received a hug from fellow Republican nominee state Rep. Milo Smith, of Columbus, Tuesday night, Coriden said she honestly didn’t know if Democrats had picked up GOP ballots to support her in the primary, or if the win represents new-found support from the GOP.
“I’ve been in this community for more than 40 years and have a lot of friends and colleagues,” she said.
She added she felt the nomination reflected support from folks who believe in the work she has done as judge, a job she very much enjoys.
Courtroom efficiency and effectiveness became a topic in the campaign as Superior Court 2 faces a larger caseload than any other court in Bartholomew County. Its caseload represents as much as 78 percent of all cases filed in the county, as many as 17,000 a year. The cases include criminal, civil and small claim matters.
Coriden said managing the court requires a combination of hard work, experience and regular re-evaluations.
By attending judicial seminars and serving on various Indiana Supreme Court judicial committees, Coriden said she uses knowledge gained there to make the court more efficient.
When asked if the Democrats will field a candidate against her in the fall, the judge said she had no idea.
Her immediate plans were to get some sleep Tuesday night and take a few days off to get some rest.
Long was a bit disappointed after the final results were in but said he was proud of the race his campaign had run and there was nothing he would have done differently.
He acknowledged that it is always difficult to run against an incumbent judge. “If you look around the state, you’ll see that they most often win,” he said.
And there was that nagging thought that if Coriden had run in the Democratic primary, things might have had a different outcome.
“I think that’s a safe bet,” he said. “But that’s out of my control.”
Long said he will go back to his work as a Bartholomew County deputy prosecutor and “fight the good fight.”
“It’s always difficult to overcome an incumbent,” Logston said after the results were in, saying that was a huge factor in the campaign.
And he said that if Coriden had remained on the Democratic ticket, things might have been different. “I think you change the dynamic of any race by removing any individual,” he said.
Logston said he wouldn’t rule out another run for a judge’s seat in the future, but in the meantime, would return to his community service role as city attorney.
Superior Court 2 Judge
Kathleen Coriden 3,766
Greg Long 2,962
Jeff Logston 2,077