J.B. Bennett has taken a commanding lead in the primary for an open judge seat in Hamilton County Circuit Court.
With 106 out of 130 precincts reporting in the Republican primary, Bennett had 9,675 votes, while opponent Catherine Cate White has 3,973 votes.
The winning candidate likely will be the next Circuit Court judge because the lone Democratic candidate, attorney Stuart James, dropped out of the race in March. Still, James' name remains on the ballot and had 4,066 votes in the most recent precinct report.
Bennett and White are vying for the seat vacated by Judge Jacqueline Bolton, who publicly announced her retirement from her seat as the court's Division 1 judge last year.
The three other divisions of Circuit Court have incumbent judges seeking re-election unopposed . They are Judges Jeff Hollingsworth, L. Marie Williams and W. Neil Thomas III.
White, 53, has been in law practice for 25 years and worked in areas, including as special counsel for Chattanooga, worker's compensation, General Sessions Court, contract disputes and condemnations.
Bennett, 48, has practiced law since 1993 with the firm Spears, Moore, Rebman and Williams. At that firm he's worked mainly in complex civil cases and jury trials.
White has sat as special judge in Circuit Court and Chattanooga City Court. Bennett has sat as special judge in General Sessions Court.