Bill Norful will again face incumbent Greg Glennon in the race for Chittenden County probate judge. This time, Norful, a lifelong Democrat, will run as a Republican.
The attorney and former Winooski mayor lost the Democratic primary to Glennon earlier this month, getting votes on 22 percent of the ballots cast, as opposed to 44 percent for Glennon.
But Norful also got 95 write-in votes in the Republican primary.
Last Friday, Chittenden County court clerk Anne Williams confirmed the vote count and found that Norful had bested Republican National Committee member Jay Shepard, who got 71 write-in votes. (Glennon received 66 GOP votes.) Most GOP voters left that spot on the ballot blank.
Norful had until Friday to decline the nomination. He decided not to — and so he will be on the ballot to face Glennon in the November general election. Norful said he still considers himself a Democrat, but is comfortable running as a Republican because the judgeship is apolitical.
He's said he is staying in the race because Glennon has taken campaign contributions from attorneys who appear in his court, which, he charged, is "absolutely improper."
According to Norful, after he challenged the incumbent about that during a debate, Glennon recused himself from hearing Norful's cases.
"I think it’s an extreme irony that he’ s disqualified himself from an attorney who questioned him about the propriety of his donations," Norful said, calling it a "probate pay-to-play." He contended that Glennon should instead recuse himself from cases in which attorneys donated money.
Glennon did not respond to a request for comment. But in interviews last month, he told Seven Days that he had strictly adhered to Vermont's judicial code of ethics. He said that, as required, he announces in court if attorney involved in a case before him has donated to his campaign.