District Judge Julie Muth Goodman wins Fayette Circuit Court judge race

A woman who has been a district court judge for more than a decade was elected Tuesday as the newest Fayette Circuit Court judge in the fourth division.

Fayette County District Court Judge Julie Muth Goodman unseated Circuit Court Judge John Reynolds, who was appointed by Gov. Matt Bevin to temporarily replace Judge Pamela Goodwine after her election to the state court of appeals.

“Obviously I’m humbled, I’m thrilled and I’m grateful to all the people in the community who have voted for me,” Goodman said Tuesday night.

Since the race was to replace a temporarily appointed judge, Goodman will be sworn in once the votes are certified and the election results are official, she said.

“I will do the same thing I’ve always done,” Goodman said. “I will continue to serve the community.”

Circuit court judges in Fayette County hear felony criminal and death penalty cases and preside over civil cases.

Goodman’s campaign focused on her experience in different areas of the legal system, including time spent as a special prosecutor, as a litigator and more than a decade as a district court judge.

Goodman has been active in trying to combat the opioid epidemic through programs like “drug court” and plans to take that work with her as she moves from district court to circuit court, she said Tuesday.

During his campaign, Reynolds pointed to his experience working in circuit courtrooms after his two appointments to the bench.

Before filling Goodwine’s seat, Reynolds was appointed by Bevin to fill in for Judge James Ishmael Jr., who retired. Reynolds ran to permanently fill that seat but lost to Judge Lucy VanMeter in November 2018.

In the days before the general election, Reynolds’ campaign released a flyer that cited a 2016 Kentucky Bar Association judicial poll. In the advertisement, it was stated that Goodman was reported to be the “worst sitting Fayette County district judge” by the Herald-Leader.

The advertisement was referencing a 2016 Herald-Leader story, which listed Goodman as being one of four judges who received the most “poor” ratings by attorneys polled. In response, Goodman pointed out that while 21 percent of poll respondents rated her as “poor,” 49 percent rated her has “excellent” and 18 percent rated her as “good.”

Goodman will fill the seat until the term Goodwine vacated ends in 2022. Full terms for circuit court judges in Kentucky last eight years.

In Fayette County, circuit court judges are paid $127,733.

Fayette Circuit Judge

  • Julie Muth Goodman 57,481
  • John Reynolds 37,307

(100% reporting)