Race is on for Oakland County Circuit Court bench

Assistant attorneys general try to make history by unseating incumbent Oakland County judge

Author: Mara MacDonald, Local 4 Reporter, @MaraMacDonald
Published On: Oct 25 2012 10:47:06 PM EDT   Updated On: Oct 25 2012 10:57:54 PM EDT
ROYAL OAK, Mich. -

In more than 100 years, no one has managed to unseat an incumbent judge in Oakland County.

In this year's election there are two assistant attorneys general who are attempting to do just that. Everyone in the county took note of this when the well-produced TV ads aired in Metro Detroit.

All of a sudden there was going to be a real race for the Oakland County Circuit Court. On one had, there are five incumbent judges banding together for what they call the "integrity slate."

On the other hand are two career prosecutors working for Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. They have backing and where the money is coming from has tongues wagging.

A conservative non profit out of Washington has shelled out hundreds of thousands of dollars in positive ads fro Deb Carley and Bill Rollstin. The non profit promotes what it call rule of law candidates, not activist judges.

Why are they interested in Carley and Rollstin?

"I think they saw we were both very similar candidates. We have great experience trying hundreds and hundreds of cases day in and day out for 22 years," said Carley.

Rollstin was up north Thursday night working on a case for the AG. He spoke to Local 4 on the phone.

"There are individuals out there in the world that believe in us and they’ve supported that and there’s nothing wrong with that. It certainly in comportment with the law of our land," Rollstin said

There are already bad feelings over the challenge and more questions about money. Another out of state political non-profit, which is not at the direction of either Rollstin or Carley, has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars running attack ads against one of the incumbents.

Political non profits such as these do not have to reveal their donor lists. It’s all perfectly legal. Speculation is running wild in legal circles over what local powerbroker is behind the attacks.

For the first time in a very long time the battle for the bench in Oakland County is going to be a race to watch.