Initial election results showed prosecutor David Orr leading in the race for Jackson County Circuit Court judge, with civil attorney Joe Davis in second — although neither had the majority of votes needed to win outright and avoid a November run-off between the top two vote-getters.
Orr had 39.9 percent of the votes and Davis had 30.2 percent in the race to fill Position 9 on the court.
Another prosecutor, Nick Geil, was in third with 23.3 percent and defense attorney Larry Parker trailed with 6.4 percent in early results.
The race is nonpartisan.
Orr, 54, worked for several years as a public defense attorney in Kansas and as a civil lawyer before becoming a prosecutor for Linn County in 2000. He became deputy district attorney in Jackson County in 2003.
“After 23 years as an attorney, I’m honored to see the faith and confidence Jackson County is placing in me and now it’s time to move on to November,” Orr said Tuesday night. “I’m very grateful to the many people who worked so hard to help make this happen.”
Orr spent years handling child abuse cases, then juvenile dependency cases, and is now assigned to adult sex crime prosecution.
Orr was defeated by incumbent Judge Patricia Crain in the May 2016 election. He also ran unsuccessfully in 2012 against Judge Benjamin Bloom.
Davis, 45, started his career as a prosecutor, then worked for private law firms on civil litigation and as senior in-house counsel for Lithia Motors. More recently, he started Davis Pedrojetti with a law partner and has focused almost exclusively on family law, including divorce, custody and support cases.
Davis volunteers as a judge pro tem for Jackson County Circuit Court, handling small claims cases and filling in for criminal arraignment and sentencing hearings when judges are gone.
“I’m pleased to be proceeding to the run-off,” Davis said Tuesday night. “I look forward to continuing to campaign. I’m very pleased with the support I’ve received in the primary process. I look forward to continuing to build that support.”
Also a Jackson County deputy district attorney, Geil, 37, started his legal career doing estate planning and business transactions, but switched to criminal law and became a prosecutor in 2008.
Parker, 60, has worked in both civil and criminal law, most recently as a court-appointed indigent defense lawyer. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran.
Jackson County Circuit Judge Ron Grensky announced in November 2017 that he would not seek re-election to Position 9 on the court, triggering the entry of the four candidates into the race.
Judges Timothy Gerking and Bloom are running unopposed to retain their seats on the court, which operates in downtown Medford next to the Jackson County Jail.