After Democrats seized control of the state Senate and reshuffled committee leadership last week, an apparently outcast judicial candidate has new hopes for a full term on the bench.
Tazewell County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Judge Martha P. Ketron was put on the bench by area circuit judges last year, but her bid for a full six-year term hit a roadblock in December in the then-Republican-controlled Senate Courts Committee.
Committee chair Sen. Tommy Norment had Ketron’s name left off the list of judges up for interviews and she was not certified for election on the Senate side.
Ketron is the daughter of Sen. Phillip P. Puckett, D-Tazewell. Norment reportedly cited an informal Assembly policy barring close relatives of legislators from being elected as judges.
Regardless of those concerns, the House approved Ketron last month.
The situation in the Senate changed Monday when the committee – now under Democratic control – interviewed Ketron and certified her, according to The Virginian-Pilot.
To win full Senate approval, Ketron will have to have some Republican votes, the paper said, and the horse-trading could involve the bid by Virginia Beach Circuit Judge H. Thomas Padrick Jr. for another term. A Senate vote on the judgeships could come as early as Tuesday, the paper said.