Judge Victor Pontious, Jr. was victorious in the Republican primary election Tuesday night in a competitive race for Washington C.H. Municipal Court judge.
Pontious, the incumbent, garnered 1,574 votes and 58.10 of the total vote, according to unofficial results from the Fayette County Board of Elections. In her first time running for public office, local attorney Susan Wollscheid received 1,135 votes and 41.90 percent of the total vote.
“I am really grateful for each and every voter who came out to support me,” said Pontious, who has worked as a judge in Fayette County for 23 years, serving judicial terms in the municipal court and in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas. “I also want to thank all of my Christian brothers and sisters, as well as my family and friends and those who work with me every day in the court.”
In an earlier interview with the Record-Herald, Pontious said as judge he has worked for a number of years to implement an evidence-based cognitive behavior therapy assessment and program for court defendants suffering with substance abuse issues, an effort that he said has been a resource to help get people into treatment for drug and substance abuse.
On Tuesday night, he said there is still a lot of work to do in the municipal court.
“We have been hit with an increase in caseloads and the jail is overcrowded,” Pontious said. “We had 70 prisoners just last week and we are dealing with 850 people on probation. So the challenge is trying to figure out what programs these individuals may be amenable to. But we’re excited about the opportunities and programs that we can utilize to help many of these people. However, people have choices and if they make good choices, we can certainly act to help them.”
Wollscheid said Tuesday night that she still would like to see some positive changes made in the municipal court.
“I think we need some changes,” she said. “But this has been a wonderful and heart-warming experience to see all of these people who supported me. It was very encouraging to see the turnout.”
Wollscheid added that she would consider running for public office again in the future. “I definitely wouldn’t rule it out,” she said.
The deadline to file as an independent to run against Pontious was the day before the primary. There will be no Democratic challenger because no one filed to run as a Democrat in the May primary.
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica