Goshen News, Goshen, IN

November 8, 2012

Voters return Judge Bowers to Superior Court 2 to bench


GOSHEN — Judge Stephen Bowers is happy he is returning to the Superior Court 2 bench in Elkhart County.

Bowers, a Republican incumbent, defeated Democrat challenger Phillip Hesch Tuesday night. The coming six-year judicial term will be Bowers’ second in Superior Court 2.

“I am very happy with the results and the support I have in the community,” Bowers said. “I am looking forward to another six years. It would have been a long day in my jury trial as a lame duck. I am really happy with the results.”

Bowers said his judicial philosophy is to treat all defendants who appear before him, whether they are wealthy or indigent, with the same respect.

“My experience has been that if you consistently treat people with respect, they respond well,” Bowers said.

He said he is also proud to be part of the Superior Court 2 judicial tradition, which stretches back over three other judges. The first judge to hold the office was Stanley Raymer, a Democrat, who Bowers said, “was a gentleman and a fine legal scholar.” He said the other judges, William Bontrager and Judge Stephen Platt, who held the office for 24 years. “These people set a very high standard in the job and I hope to live up to it.”

Asked if campaigning as a judicial candidate was difficult, Bowers laughed, saying his only campaign expense was $400 for pens to hand out.

“It all worked out and I am pleased,” Bowers said.

In the only other Elkhart County judicial race, Republican David Bonfiglio, judge of Superior Court 6 was unopposed and was re-elected.

Attorney general

In other election night news, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller won re-election as the state government’s top lawyer.

The Republican defeated Democratic nominee Kay Fleming to win a second four-year term.

Zoeller has overseen distribution of millions of dollars from the state to victims of last year’s deadly Indiana State Fair stage rigging collapse.

He’s defended in court a GOP-backed state law seeking to cut off much of Planned Parenthood’s government funding and joined other Republican state attorneys general in challenging the federal health care overhaul.

But he’s drawn the ire of some Republicans for declining to defend disputed portions of Indiana’s immigration law in federal court following a Supreme Court ruling invalidating a similar measure in Arizona.