Starke County Democrats Lacking Judge Candidate Replacements

Democratic Party DonkeyNow that their candidate has decided to step out of the race, the Starke County Democrats likely won’t find a replacement.

Angelo Masuka stopped his campaign for City Court Judge in Knox after a state law was passed disallowing him from holding office without first becoming a registered attorney with the state.

Starke County Democratic Party Chair Ken Wallace says the change limits candidate selection.

“We’ve searched, but there’s nobody that wants it,” says Wallance. “These lawyers aren’t going to give up their time for a position like that. Their time is more valuable to them.”

Incumbent Republican Charles Hasnerl is grandfathered in by the bill which stipulates that so long as he is re-elected to consecutive terms, he may continue serving. Hasnerl is considered a non-attorney judge.

Democratic Party officials in Starke County spent time speaking with representatives of Election Division to clarify language in the bill. Changing the language for rural areas will be left up to the legislature, according to Wallace.

He says he’s disappointed by the outcome.

“It’s kind of a messed up deal. Whether they’ll change the law again: who knows?” says Wallace. “I mean, I’ve talked to several people, both downstate and people here in the district so we’ll see what happens, but right now I don’t see [the law] changing.”

Despite saying that a candidate is unlikely to step forward, the Democratic Party in Starke County has until July 6th to find a candidate.

Masuka, meanwhile, has said he may go on to earn a law degree with the hope of eventually serving in an elected position in the future.