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Ballard wins common pleas judicial race

Andrew Ballard defeated Judge Oakley Clark Collins Jr. Tuesday night in the judicial race for Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge.

Ballard will take over the seat previously held by D. Scott Bowling, who died earlier this year after a battle with ALS.

“It was breathtaking. I feel like I’m floating. This is not something I expected six hours ago, and this was my first time running,” Ballard said shortly after finding out about his victory. “To be with my friends and family tonight to celebrate this victory, it’s unbelievable.”

Ballard held a steady lead all evening, never trailing Collins, and received 12,959 votes for 54.06 percent of the vote to 11,013 votes for 45.94 percent of the vote received by Collins in the final count.

“We learned how to be a candidate on the fly, and had 10 weeks to develop and implement this campaign,” Ballard said. “We had people from all over the county come to assist us, and in no way could we have done it without each and every one of them.”

Collins said that although he was disappointed with the results of the campaign, he was proud of the campaign that he ran.

“Obviously I’m disappointed with the results, but I’m proud of the fact that we ran a good, clean campaign. The Collins family believes deeply in that,” he said. “I want to thank all of my supporters who have supported us so loyally over the years, and I can’t thank them enough. But congratulations to Mr. Ballard.”

One of the things that Ballard pushed for throughout his campaign was to implement a certified drug court in Lawrence County, something he said he would start on right away.

“We’ll start immediately on the process of putting a team together to seek certification for a drug court,” he said. “And every day we’ll administer justice fairly without bias or prejudice.”