Allen Superior Court Judge Wendy Davis will run as a Republican to replace Allen Circuit Court Judge Thomas Felts, who will not seek reelection when his term expires at the end of the year.
Davis took the bench in 2011 after defeating incumbent Judge Kenneth Scheibenberger in an election the year before. She was reelected in 2016, and her term ends in 2022. If elected, Davis would be the first female Circuit Court Judge in Allen County history.
Felts, a Republican who was elected in 2002, announced last week he will retire after serving three terms as Circuit Court judge. Davis, who handles felony cases, so far is the first to announce her candidacy for the post.
Several prominent figures in the local business and legal communities said Friday at a news conference they support Davis, including Sweetwater Sound founder Chuck Surack, Parkview Health CEO Mike Packnett, Boys and Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne President and CEO Joe Jordan, defense attorney Anthony Churchward, Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards and county Chief Deputy Prosecutor Michael McAlexander.
Richards hailed Davis for her integrity, work ethic and passion for justice. “You cannot serve people in a community if you don't have those three things,” Richards said.
County GOP Chairman Steve Shine also said he supports her.Several lauded the judge for her work with HOPE, a probation program designed to help people with drug and alcohol addictions seek treatment as an alternative to incarceration.
“I believe Wendy represents what's best in our community,” Jordan said.
The circuit court handles a variety of cases including mortgage foreclosures, civil cases and cases involving drunk driving and habitual traffic offenders. Candidates for judge there declare whether they are a Republican or a Democrat.
Allen Superior Court typically handles more serious criminal cases, and judges' positions are nonpartisan.
Davis said she is humbled by the opportunity to succeed Felts, who oversees Restoration Court – a program for offenders with mental health problems. She vowed to continue and expand problem-solving courts such as that one.
“I want to take what Judge Felts and Judge (Craig) Bobay have started and grow it,” Davis said. “I promise to be diligent, to be thorough. I'm not a knee-jerk kind of gal.”