Melissa Black was recently elected as a judge to the Hillsborough County Court in Florida. As a county court judge, she handles misdemeanor cases, small claims, and civil disputes. A key question surrounding judges like Black is what their political party affiliation is and whether they take partisan stances on issues. This article will examine Black’s background, her 2022 election campaign, party affiliation, issue positions, and how she compares to other Florida judges.
Melissa Black’s Background
Early Life and Education
Melissa Black was born and raised in Tampa, Florida. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Florida. Black then attended Stetson University College of Law, receiving her Juris Doctor degree.
After law school, Black worked as an assistant state attorney in Hillsborough County, handling misdemeanor and traffic cases. She later entered private practice as a criminal defense attorney. Black has over 15 years of legal experience in Hillsborough County.
2022 Hillsborough County Court Election
Black ran for an open seat on the Hillsborough County Court in the August 2022 nonpartisan primary election. She advanced to the general election along with E. Michael Isaak after defeating two other candidates Linette Brookins and Alicia Whiting Bozich.
In the November general election, Black faced off against Isaak. She won the contest with 64.2% of the vote compared to Isaak’s 35.8%.
As a nonpartisan candidate, Black did not have an official political party affiliation during the campaign. Her campaign emphasized her local roots and legal experience.
Political Party Affiliation
Registered as No Party Affiliation
According to voting records, Melissa Black is registered to vote in Florida with no party affiliation. She is not registered as a Democrat, Republican, or member of any other political party.
Ran as Nonpartisan Candidate
Consistent with being registered as no party affiliation, Black ran for the Hillsborough County Court as a nonpartisan candidate. Her name was listed without a party designation on both the primary and general election ballots.
Support from Both Parties
Although not affiliated with either major party, Black received campaign donations and support from members of both the Democratic and Republican parties during her election bid. Her nonpartisan status appealed to voters across the political spectrum.
Positions on Key Issues
Although nonpartisan, Black has staked out positions on some important issues.
Criminal Justice Reform
Black supports finding alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders. She favors treatment and rehabilitation programs to reduce recidivism.
Access to Justice
Black believes all citizens, regardless of socioeconomic status, should have access to legal representation and the justice system. She supports pro bono legal services.
Black pledges to interpret and apply the law impartially without partisan bias if elected judge. She stresses the need for an independent judiciary.
Comparison to Other Florida Judges
Other Nonpartisan Judges
Like Black, many Florida county and circuit court judges run for election as nonpartisan candidates. They do not identify officially with either the Democratic or Republican parties.
In contrast, some Florida judges affiliate publicly with a political party. In certain types of partisan elections, judges may appear on the ballot designated as the Democratic, Republican, or other party nominee.
Melissa Black aligns herself with no political party affiliation. She describes herself as an impartial, nonpartisan candidate dedicated to fair administration of the law. Black registered as no party affiliation and ran successfully for Hillsborough County Court judge as a nonpartisan. She has staked out moderate positions on issues like criminal justice reform, access to justice, and judicial independence. Black represents part of a larger trend of Florida judges eschewing formal partisan affiliations. Her nonpartisan status likely helped Black draw support from voters across the political spectrum.
Is Melissa Black a Republican or Democrat?
Black is neither. She is registered in Florida as no party affiliation and ran for judge as a nonpartisan candidate.
What political party did Melissa Black run under?
Black ran for Hillsborough County Court as a nonpartisan. She did not run as the nominee of the Republican, Democratic, or any other political party.
Does Melissa Black align with Republicans or Democrats?
While nonpartisan, Black received campaign support from members of both major parties. Her positions tend to be moderate.
How common are nonpartisan judges in Florida?
Many county and circuit court judges in Florida run for election as nonpartisans. However, some judges do run as partisan nominees.
Did Melissa Black’s party affiliation help her get elected?
Yes, being a nonpartisan rather than Democratic or Republican nominee likely helped Black draw votes from across the political spectrum.