Meet the Candidates: Eighth Circuit Court

Judge candidates
Judge candidates Sean Brewer, AuBroncee Martin, Nathan Skop and Dan Weisman.
Editor’s Note
Mainstreet Daily News will continue running longer profiles of the candidates for local offices, posting questionnaires completed by the candidates for the various offices.

Last week, Mainstreet Daily News ran a series about the candidates who have qualified for the upcoming elections. Check out our previous stories on the Alachua County School Board, the Gainesville mayor, the Gainesville commission, the Alachua County commission and the Florida Legislature races.

The race to fill the open seat on Florida’s Eighth Judicial Circuit will feature four candidates, including local lawyers who have prosecutorial, public defender and public service commission experience.  

The circuit seat race opened up when Judge Monica Brasington did not file to run for re-election for another six-year term on the bench. 

In addition to the open seat, five other circuit court judges and three county court judges qualified in April to run for re-election. All of them are unopposed. 

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Circuit court judges are non-partisan races, and the contested seat will be on the ballot in August. The Eighth District includes Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy and Union counties.

Because of state rules that govern candidates for judicial office, the four people running for the seat cannot comment on issues that might come before them as a judge.

So at a recent forum put on by the League of Women Voters of Alachua County and UF’s Bob Graham Center for Public Service, the candidates introduced themselves to the public and discussed their backgrounds and their qualifications for the position.

Below are background summaries and excerpts from the two-minute candidates introductions at the forum:

Candidate: Sean Brewer
Occupation: Intake Division Chief, Office of the State Attorney
Background: Brewer started as an assistant state attorney 1998, and has served as a trial attorney. He also has served as the felony crimes division chief, the crimes against women and children division chief, and the felony gun crimes division chief. As a prosecutor, he has specialized in cases involving child abuse, sex abuse of children and adults, and domestic violence, and has tried multiple murder cases in Alachua and Levy counties. 
Law School: UF
Quote from the forum: “Based on my family, community and professional background, I have the skills, experience and temperament necessary to be circuit court judge.”
Candidate media: Website

Candidate: AuBroncee Martin
Occupation: Felony Division Chief, Office of the Public Defender
Background: Martin has been a public defender for 24 years. He is a certified family and county court mediator, and formerly has worked as an adjunct professor at UF’s Levin College of Law.
Law School: UF
Quote from the forum: “One promise that I will make you: Each morning I wake up, when I get this position, to ensure that the public trusts that the judiciary is going to always be fair and impartial.”
Candidate media: Website

Candidate: Nathan Skop
Occupation: Attorney
Background: Skop, who has an engineering and business background, went to law school at age 37, and has been a member of the Florida Bar for 15 years. He previously was appointed to the Florida Public Service Commission, and as a commissioner, he conducted evidentiary hearings, wrote opinions and adjudicated administrative law cases. 
Law School: UF
Quote from the forum: “I hope the voters will honor me with their support based upon our shared values, my experience and commitment to ensuring fair and equal justice for everyone in our community.”
Candidate media: Website

Candidate: Dan Weisman
Occupation: Attorney
Background: Weisman served in the Florida Attorney General’s Office, prosecuting violent street gangs and pursuing cases involving theft rings, drug trafficking and embezzlement. He now works in private practice and his case load includes criminal defense and civil cases such as landlord-tenant disputes. A U.S. Army veteran, Weisman also provides legal help to other veterans.
Law School: UF
Quote from the forum: “I’ve been a prosecutor. I have defended people accused of crimes. And the synthesis of that across-the-aisle experience, I think, makes me the guy for the job. I’ve represented my fellow veterans in court. I’ve represented people in civil actions, and I’ve walked a mile in everybody’s shoes.”
Candidate media: Website

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Nance S

Nathan Skop is a force to be reckon with, a true champion, honest, factual, and loyal to the people. Vote for Nathan Skop for Judge. His background is impressive; will be an excellant Judge.

Barry

But is he Republican? And to be TOUGH on crime. Otherwise no vote.

Swamp Angel

Why is party affiliation not mentioned on this site? That is important to me.

C.J. Gish

Mainstreet Daily News does not endorse any political parties.

Swamp Angel

I know that. I was referring to which party, if any, the candidates belong to. And whether they are the incumbent.

A H

Because they are supposed to be non partisan. That’s what I want to know too.

B S

Each of these people show up on my Republican primary ballot sample for Baker County, Fl.

W G

They show up on both d and r ballots because they are non partisan positions

David Riley

Party affiliation is a strong indicator of how any judge will make their decisions. It is important to know what their affiliations are in order to vote for any of them. If there is no distinguishing their party affiliation then the only way to vote for any of them is NO. The last thing we need in any election is blindly vote into power ANY person known to be a Jan 6 denier. Or worse a Trump backer.