Washington County might need to print some extra-large ballots for this one.
Twenty-five candidates -- more than there are in any other race in Minnesota -- have lined up for Washington County's 10th District judgeship that less than two weeks ago was an uncontested race.
First a trickle, then a stream and, ultimately, a flood of candidates filed their petitions with the required 500 signatures by Thursday's deadline with the Minnesota Secretary of State's Office.
Among the crowd are two former legislators and, in a notable twist, Dawn Hennessy, the Washington County law clerk who for two days was the only candidate on the ballot before she withdrew.
Hennessy dropped her name after she had replaced her boss, Judge Thomas Armstrong, as the only name on the ballot. Armstrong originally was the only candidate, but after Hennessy filed at the last minute on the original June 1 deadline, he opted to retire.
Hennessy withdrew, forcing the extended filing period, then decided to run again to dispel any perception she was trying to gain an advantage over other candidates.
"What was hard for me was the fact that some people thought this was done underhandedly, with ill intentions, and in a scheming manner," she said. "This certainly was not the case. I withdrew so that it was clear to everyone that I did not intend to circumvent the system."
Hennessy has been Armstrong's law clerk for 10 years. Law clerks do a lot of the legal heavy lifting for judges, researching and helping write decisions. Hennessy said that has been valuable experience.
The filing of petitions does not mean all names will appear on the ballot. The signatures must be verified before names are placed on the general election ballot.
The other candidates, in order of their filing, are:
• Peter Marker, Marine on St. Croix, an assistant attorney general who has held several jobs in the Minnesota attorney general's office over the past 17 years. He currently manages the agency's Public Safety Division.
• Laurette Arnold, Lindstrom, a former law clerk in the 10th Judicial District who is now an associate attorney with Ledin & Hofstad in Pine City.
• Kelley Malone O'Neill, managing attorney in the Ramsey County Public Defender's Office, where she has worked for about 20 years. The Woodbury resident was a finalist for a judicial vacancy in Washington County in 2006.
• Jennifer Santoro Bovitz, Cottage Grove, who has worked for 11 years in the Washington County attorney's office, nine of them as an assistant county attorney.
• Richard Stebbins, Stillwater, attorney with Collins, Buckley, Sauntry & Haugh.
• Sheridan Keith Hawley, who has her own law practice, Hawley Law & Mediation, in Coon Rapids. She was an assistant county attorney in Kanabec County and was previously a public defender in Anoka County.
• Helen Brosnahan, Cottage Grove, an assistant county attorney in Dakota County for the past 10 years. Before that, she was a prosecutor in Olmsted County and was in private practice.
• Catherine McPherson, an assistant county attorney in Anoka County for 11 years, where she is head of operations. Before that, she was a Hennepin County prosecutor.
• John Hennen, Woodbury, who has been a senior defense attorney and defense litigation supervisor at the League of Minnesota Cities for the past 17 years. He was twice a finalist for a judicial appointment in the 10th Judicial District.
• David L. Hanson, an attorney in private practice in St. Paul. He was an assistant county attorney in Clearwater County.
• Wm. Christopher Penwell, Mahtomedi, an attorney for more than 20 years with the St. Paul firm Siegel, Brill, Greupner, Duffy & Foster.
• Bridgid Dowdal, an assistant dean at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, is a former federal prosecutor. She also was a law clerk for former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Sandra Gardebring.
• F. Joseph Taylor, former city attorney for Cottage Grove.
• Mimi Hasselbalch, Stillwater attorney.
• Brian LeClair, Woodbury, a former state senator who now serves on Gov. Tim Pawlenty's staff.
• Catherine McEnroe, Stillwater, an attorney with Kelly & Berens in Minneapolis.
• Portia Hampton-Flowers, Woodbury, a supervising attorney in the St. Paul City Attorney's Office. She is a former assistant attorney general and a former attorney for the Minnesota Department of Corrections.
• Patricia Zenner Burchill, who has a law practice in Stillwater.
• Bob Steigauf, attorney with the Sjoberg & Tebelius firm in Woodbury.
• Lindy Yokanovich, Bayport, executive director of Cancer Legal Line, a nonprofit organization that provides free legal help to people with cancer.
• Mary Smits, who has her own law practice in St. Paul and was a staff attorney for Washington County Legal Services.
• Tad Jude, Fridley, who served in both the Minnesota House and Senate and ran for Congress in 1992.
• Wayde Brooks, who has a law office in Minneapolis.
• Yamy Vang, Woodbury, an assistant city attorney in St. Paul.
Jim Anderson • 612-673-7199