STOW, Ohio — Stow Municipal Court Judge Lisa Coates has a comfortable lead in a challenge from her colleague, Kim Hoover, in Tuesday’s primary election
By about 9:50 p.m., Coates had 58.49% of the vote, with Hoover at 41.51%. About 75% of the precincts were reported.
The primary winner will face two independent candidates, Oliver Koo and Samantha Ann Lisy, in the November general election. The court manages civil, traffic and misdemeanor criminal cases from 16 suburban communities in northern Summit County.
Coates and Hoover are two longtime Republican judges in the court, with a history of disagreements.
Hoover is challenging Coates’ re-election bid in part because of state law, which keeps judicial candidates from vying for office after the age of 70; Hoover is 67. He is currently on a six-year term and has four more years left. But when that term ends, he can’t run again. In running against Coates, Hoover would have a term two years longer than his current one. He said the term would also keep Coates from gaining status of presiding judge, which has traditionally gone to the senior jurist of the court.
Hoover has been the presiding judge since 2013, working with budgeting and personnel matters among other areas. Hoover has been on the Stow bench since 1995.
If Hoover wins, he will remain the presiding judge, he said. He also would be able to groom his replacement, a candidate chosen by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. If Coates defeats Hoover, she will become the presiding judge when Hoover’s current term ends.
This primary race marks Coates’ first in 18 years. She felt she hadn’t received support from some in her party, including the party chairman, Summit County GOP leader Bryan Williams.