In the 13 years since Alonzo Coleman Jr. was appointed to the bench by then-Gov. Jim Hunt, hes built a reputation for firm, but also fair, application of the law. He is considered one of the most knowledgeable and also efficient judges in the district. The mandatory retirement age for judges in North Carolina is 72; if re-elected, Coleman will serve only seven months of his four-year term, after which the governor will choose a replacement. For her part, challenger Betsy Wolfenden has done well in forgoing accepting campaign contributions from the area attorneys who might appear before her. A family law specialist, she deserves kudos for advocating that a family court be established in District 15B. That said, Wolfenden lacks Colemans wealth of experience, having only begun practicing law in 2000. Coleman has served the Orange and Chatham district for the last 36 years, first as a state senator, then as a district judge. We find no reason why the incumbent should not continue to serve for as long as the law permits him, after which time he can continue to serve as a substitute or emergency judge throughout the state.
The race for the other seat on the District 15B court narrowed to just one candidate this month when Glenn Gerding officially conceded the race to his opponent, Page Vernon, who we endorsed in the primary and continue to support. In the primary election, Vernon won 65 percent of the tallied vote. Though Vernons bid for the seat is now uncontested, Gerdings name will remain on the ballot as he won enough votes to advance to the general election.