LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) – In the end, the candidate who probably has the most name recognition – state Treasurer Todd Hollenbach – cruised to any easy victory in a crowded race for a Jefferson District Court seat.

Hollenbach easily held off long-time attorney Bob Heleringer, Dawn Elliott and Daniel Alvarez – as well as 17 other challengers. He had 19 percent of the vote.

Name recognition has always been important in judicial races, as voters often know little about the candidates.

"I'm sure that helped,” Hollenbach said in an interview, noting that he was state treasurer for eight years and his father was Jefferson County Judge in the 1970s. But he noted that it also is likely voters appreciated the job he has done as treasurer.

“I’m grateful,” he said in an interview. “We worked pretty hard, and there were a lot of good candidates. I’ve always wanted to be a judge and now I’m getting a shot.”

Hollenbach not only was the only candidate to be elected in a statewide race, he raised the most money by far – more than $100,000.

Hollenbach will fill the seat of District Judge Michelle Stengel, who retired in May, and serve through 2018.

Former Judge Judith Bartholomew, who received the highest ratings in the Louisville Bar Association poll, only received about six percent of the vote.

Bartholomew was a district court judge for 10 years in Jefferson County and then a senior judge across the state for another five.

Alvarez, an immigration and criminal defense lawyer, ranked second in the poll, and won the coveted endorsement for a judicial candidate is that of the Citizens for Better Judges, a group made up of attorneys and members of the community. He finished fourth in the election, with about ten percent of the vote.

In the bar poll, Hollenbach was found to be qualified or highly qualified by 33 percent of the respondents. About 46 percent didn’t know him and 17 percent found him unqualified.

District judges serve four-year terms and are paid $112,668 a year.  

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