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Election 2004

5th Judical Circuit Judge: Spivey, Takac to clash Nov. 2; voters give appointed Pope nod

By COLLEEN JENKINS
Published September 1, 2004

Two Ocala lawyers are headed for a runoff for a circuit judge position that will be based in Citrus and Hernando counties.

Stephen Spivey and Michael Takac were the top vote-getters in the 5th Judicial Circuit Group 10 race, knocking out veteran prosecutor Anthony Tatti.

But neither appeared likely to get 50 percent of the vote plus one, so they will meet again in the general election Nov. 2.

In a separate election, voters in the 5th Judicial Circuit - which includes Citrus, Hernando, Marion, Lake and Sumter counties - decided Circuit Judge Willard Pope should retain the seat to which he was appointed last year.

Pope received more than half the votes across the circuit in the Group 24 race. That gave him the necessary edge over Scott Wynn, a Groveland attorney who had framed himself as the hometown candidate with more legal experience than his opponent.

Pope, a former law enforcement officer and prosecutor, said he was "humbled and overwhelmed" by voters' support.

"I'm just very honored to have my appointment affirmed by a victory in an election," the incumbent said.

In the Group 10 race, Spivey, a civil attorney in private practice, registered the highest vote count in all five counties.

Both he and Takac said they regretted seeing Tatti place third, noting their competitor had run a clean and ethical race. But the two men already were setting the stage for the general election.

Takac, a private attorney who narrowly lost his first bid for judge in 2002, said he believed the voters interested in a judge with significant litigation experience would back him now that Tatti was out of the race.

"I look forward to hopefully getting the word out about that," he said. "When you compare credentials, mine will stand up and (Spivey's) won't."

Said Spivey: "I think my opponent understands that I'm serious about trying to win this. I'm committed to finishing the job, and I'm going to need continuing support."

[Last modified August 31, 2004, 22:43:23]


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