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5th CIRCUIT JUDGE 10

A RELOCATED SEAT: Citrus and Hernando counties will divide time as the new Group 10 base for either Stephen Spivey or Michael Takac.

JIM ROSS
Published October 26, 2004

In a three-candidate race, Stephen Spivey and Michael Takac were the top two vote recipients in the Aug. 31 primary, taking 45.9 percent and 30.7 percent, respectively. Since neither man took 50 percent of the vote plus one vote, they will square off in the general election.

The winner will take the seat that Circuit Judge William T. Swigert, who sits in Ocala, is vacating when he retires at the end of the year.

This judicial seat, labeled Group 10 for organizational purposes, traditionally has been based in Marion County. But due to recent position shuffling, the winner of the election will divide his time between Citrus and Hernando counties.

Circuit judges have jurisdiction throughout the 5th Judicial Circuit, whose member counties are Citrus, Hernando, Marion, Lake and Sumter. Judicial races are nonpartisan, and all voters in those counties will have a chance to cast ballots in this race.

Spivey, 52, has handled civil litigation through his private practice in Ocala for the past decade. In state and federal courts, he has represented investors with claims against their financial advisers and consumers fighting fraudulent business practices.

He also has spent considerable time volunteering on the boards of numerous nonprofit organizations in Marion, including the Centers, a mental health care provider; and Recovery House Inc., a home he helped found in 1990 for recovering alcoholics.

Takac, 42, almost won a seat on the bench two years ago, receiving 47 percent of the vote in a race against longtime Circuit Judge Carven Angel.

Takac (pronounced TACK-us) devotes most of his private practice to civil cases, such as eminent domain, contract litigation and family law. A smaller amount of his time is spent on criminal cases. He also has worked in the Florida Attorney General's Office and the Governor's Office.

THE JOB

The 5th Judicial Circuit encompasses Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Sumter and Marion counties. The judge elected to the Group 10 seat will be based in Citrus and Hernando. Circuit judges handle juvenile justice, family law, felony cases and civil disputes involving more than $15,000. They are elected to six-year terms and are paid $134,650 per year.

THE CANDIDATES

STEPHEN SPIVEY , 52, was born in Clermont. He holds a bachelor's degree in political science and history from Florida Technological University, now the University of Central Florida, and a law degree from Stetson University College of Law. Spivey worked as a stockbroker in Orlando before clerking for circuit judges in Ocala from 1987-92. He has spent the past 10 years in private practice in Ocala, litigating civil cases around the country. Spivey is married and has four grown children. This is his first campaign for office. ASSETS: home, real estate, bank accounts, investments, possessions, vehicles LIABILITIES: mortgages SOURCE OF INCOME: private law practice and real estate

MICHAEL TAKAC , 42, moved to Ocala from Teaneck, N.J., when he was 13. He earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Wake Forest University and a law degree from Campbell University in North Carolina. He has spent most of his 17-year legal career in private practice in Ocala, except for stints with the Florida Attorney General's Office from 1995-97 and the Governor's Office from 1997-99. Takac is not married. In 2002, he lost a judicial race to incumbent Circuit Judge Carven Angel . ASSETS: home, real estate, bank accounts. LIABILITIES: car paymen t SOURCE OF INCOME: private law practice.

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