Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge Larry VanMeter easily defeated fellow Judge Glenn Acree on Tuesday in the contest for an open state Supreme Court seat.
VanMeter, 58, of Lexington, replaces Justice Mary Noble, who is retiring from the bench.
According to unofficial results, VanMeter received 74 percent of the vote compared to 26 percent for Acree.
VanMeter, who is registered as a Republican, outraised and outspent Acree. He loaned his campaign $170,000, a little less than half of the $344,120 he raised, according to a report filed Oct. 24 with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance. Acree, 61, raised $19,513 and loaned his campaign $3,121.
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Acree is registered to vote as a Democrat.
The nonpartisan race was quiet with neither candidate running attack ads.
The seven justices of the Supreme Court are elected to eight-year terms and paid an annual salary of $135,504. They traditionally get the last word on Kentucky law.
The seat is in the court’s 5th District, which is comprised of 11 Central Kentucky counties: Fayette, Scott, Bourbon, Clark, Madison, Jessamine, Franklin, Woodford, Anderson, Mercer and Boyle.
VanMeter is a familiar face from Fayette County courts. He was a Fayette District Court and Fayette Circuit Court judge before running for the state Court of Appeals in 2003. One of VanMeter’s most noteworthy decisions while serving on the Fayette Circuit Court was his decision to uphold Lexington’s smoking ban. That decision was appealed to the state Supreme Court, which upheld VanMeter’s decision.
Acree grew up in Metcalfe County and enlisted in the Army after high school. After his honorable discharge, he went to college and law school on the G.I. Bill. Acree was appointed to the state Court of Appeals by then-Gov. Ernie Fletcher in 2006. Voters elected Acree to the seat that fall and re-elected him in 2014. For most of the last four years, Acree was elected by his fellow judges to serve as the court’s chief judge.
Glenn Acree 62,510
Larry VanMeter 178,377