WARSAW – Superior Court 3 Judge Joe Sutton has withdrawn his candidacy four days after filing to run and issued an apology for negative comments directed at Superior Court 2 Judge Torrey Bauer.
Sutton, widely believed to be retiring, on Friday, filed to run for Superior 2, which is currently held by Bauer, a fellow Republican.
Sutton never issued a campaign announcement, but in an interview with another media group published Monday, he announced his plans and blasted Bauer over a specific case.
The comments quickly drew concern among those in the legal community, according to several people.
The state code of judicial conduct prohibits judges from endorsing or opposing any candidate for any public office.
“My comments were outside the traditional pillars of experience, integrity, fairness and impartiality. It was wrong, and it was not fair to Judge Bauer,” Sutton said in a statement released shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4.
“To avoid a cloud of controversy in this primary election, today (February 4, 2020) I filed with the Indiana Election Division, form (Can 10), 2020 Primary Election Candidate Withdrawal. I am no longer a candidate for Judge of Superior Court 2 in the Republican primary election to be held on May 5, 2020,” Sutton said.
“I offer my public apology to Judge Bauer and wish him continued success in Superior Court 2,” the statement said in conclusion.
Sutton has been on the bench for 24 years.
Four Republican candidates have filed to run for Sutton’s seat and at least one referenced Sutton’s pending retirement in their announcement. Those who have filed to run include Robert Bishop, Karin McGrath, Lindsey Grossnickle and Chad Miner.
Bauer is now once again unopposed.
InkFreeNews reached out to Sutton to discuss his candidacy Monday but did not hear back until he announced his withdrawal Tuesday.
Sutton was not in his office Tuesday, according to his office.
Rarely does a sitting judge decide to run for another court on the local level, but it’s happening in Kosciusko County.