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Incumbent Donna Dutton easily beat out Darby L. Smith to keep her seat as the 53rd District Court Judge on Tuesday night.
This was the second time Dutton has bested Smith for the seat, and, according to Smith, it will be the last time he challenges her for the position.
Dutton beat Smith in Shelby with 56.4 percent of the vote and won by a slightly larger margin in Anderson and Spencer counties.
On Tuesday night, Dutton waited for the results at a gathering of friends, family and supporters. When the final results were brought in, the celebration began.
She said she was relieved and overcome with emotion.
“I would like to thank everyone who supported me during the campaign,” she said. “This is my passion. I can't describe how much I love my job.”
Dutton said being re-elected by such a wide margin was a boost of confidence from the voters.
“I think people have seen during my first term that this isn't just a job for me,” she said. “It feels great to know they believe in me.”
Dutton had based her campaign largely on her accomplishments during her first term, including issuing tough penalties for crimes and case efficiency. She said she would continue these commitments during her next term.
“I have worked hard the last four years honoring the promises I made when I first ran in 2006, which was being tough on repeat offenders, tough on drug offenses, and treating everyone in the courtroom with fairness and respect,” she said.
In a written statement, Dutton said she is glad she did not participate in negative campaigning.
“I focused on running a positive campaign and talking about the issues, and I believe the results prove that negative campaigning, especially in judicial races, does not work,” she said.
In the 2006 race for the seat, Dutton bested Smith in the primary election and went on to beat David Nutgrass in the general election.
Smith, a lawyer who lives in Simpsonville, said that he would consider running again of court position but not against an incumbent judge.
“It is extremely hard to beat a sitting judge,” he said.
He said he did everything he could have done during the campaign.
“I knocked on over five thousand doors. I did fundraisers. I left it all on the table. I did all i could do," he said. "I can live with defeat. But I can't live with regret and this time I don't have any."
Before being elected as District Judge, Dutton served as general counsel for several state government agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, Cabinet for Economic Development and Executive Branch Ethics Commission. She has represented clients before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Kentucky Supreme Court, Kentucky Court of Appeals as well as circuit and district courts across the Commonwealth.