Maria Ruhl Wins 12th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Election

Maria Ruhl, a local attorney in Bradenton, has won the election for judge of the 12th Judicial Circuit Court against current sitting Judge Brian Iten, who was appointed to his position in December of 2015 by Governor Rick Scott. Ruhl is the first to run against  a sitting 12th Judicial Circuit Court judge in 12 years, and the first to replace a sitting judge in 20 years, since Matt McMillan removed George Brown. Ruhl will also be the first person of Hispanic heritage to become a judge in the 12th Judicial Circuit, making her election historic once again. Ruhl will preside over a large area, including Manatee, Sarasota, and Desoto county. She will begin her office in January 2019, and preside for six years, after which she may face another election. What is so important about this race was the fact that there was actually an election, whereas in many cases, judges resign from their position early so that the governor may appoint someone to replace them, eliminating the need for elections. Ruhl, born in Venezuela, understands the luxury of elections, and stressed the importance of democracy in her campaign.  These appointed judges are rarely challenged, but now that Maria Ruhl has shown its’ possibility, we may see more attorneys challenging sitting judges.