LIMA — In the race for a seat on the 3rd District Court of Appeals, William Zimmerman was well ahead with most of the vote in late Tuesday.
Zimmerman led with 63 percent of the vote to Randall Basinger’s 37 percent. Zimmerman said he is ready to get started when he takes office Feb. 9.
“I look forward to beginning a new chapter in my legal life,” he said. “I hope to fill the big shoes that Judge [Richard] Rogers had.”
Zimmerman said he had nothing but respect and good will for Basinger.
“What a class act that man is,” Zimmerman said.
Basinger remained upbeat despite a tough year with the election loss the easiest part of it.
“I would like to congratulate Judge Zimmerman. I have spoken with him on occasion and I think he will serve the Court of Appeals well,” Basinger said.
Basinger, whose wife was sick and died earlier in the year, was unable to conduct the campaign he wanted but remained in the race and hoped to rely on name recognition.
Zimmerman campaigned hard for the position and was able to get his name out.
Like many previous judicial races, however, the candidates are largely unknown to the average voter.
Dan Atzinger, 64, of Lima, said he skipped voting in the race for 3rd District.
“If I pay attention to the issue, I vote. If I don’t, I don’t mess with it,” Atzinger said.
Dashanna McClellan, 33, of Lima, said she skipped the race on the ballot, too.
Leisa Schmidt voted for Basinger but she admits she didn’t know anything about either man.
“He’s just the one I picked,” Schmidt said. “I just don’t think it’s something people are aware of. It’s not out there like the presidential candidates are so they are not made aware of it.”
Shamya Point, 18, of Lima, voted for Zimmerman but also didn’t know anything about him or Basinger.
Zimmerman is the sitting judge in Shelby County Juvenile and Probate courts. Basinger is the sitting judge in Putnam County Common Pleas Court where he has been since 1987. His term is in the final few months. Basinger said he does not know what he will do next but will decide on something in the next few months.
Zimmerman will replace Rogers, who cannot run again because of the age limit of 70.
The 3rd District is based in Lima and covers 17 counties in Ohio. It’s the first level of appeals.
Reach Greg Sowinski at 567-242-0464 or on Twitter @Lima_Sowinski.