Four seats were up for grabs in Tuesday's 20th Judicial Circuit judge elections, with half of those taken by judicial newcomers and one sitting judge ousted.
Circuit Judge Joe Simpson was the only incumbent in the circuit to lose, with Lisa Spader Porter winning the Group 26 seat with 71 percent of the vote. Simpson was expected to retire after his first six-year term for health reasons and surprised many in the legal community by announcing his candidacy in the 2012 election.
Porter was a general magistrate in Charlotte County for five years before she resigned to run for the circuit judge position.
In Group 9, incumbent Meg Steinbeck narrowly defeated Karen Miller, garnering 51 percent of the vote.
Fifty-six percent of Southwest Florida voters also re-elected George C. Richards to the Group 29 seat, choosing the incumbent over personal injury attorney David McElrath.
Voters in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties vote in all 20th Judicial Circuit judge races.
With a clear margin of victory, Collier-based private attorney Joe Foster received 60 percent of the vote and edged out Miguel C. Fernandez III, who is also in private practice, for the Group 18 seat.
It was the only race in the circuit without an incumbent running.
As at the county level, newly elected circuit judges will take the bench in January.