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Judge candidates: Jeff Kehr


Monroe County Courthouse IDS file photo Buy Photos

Jeff Kehr has been working in the Monroe County prosecutor’s office since 1996. Now, he hopes to continue in public service as he runs for judge in the Seat 3 race.

“I’ve been in public service for 21 years now, and I still love it,” Kehr said. “But I’m looking for a different opportunity to make an impact and still be in public service.”

Kehr is now third in charge in the prosecutor’s office, and he works on some the county’s most high-profile cases. 

Three judicial seats in Monroe County — Seat 2, Seat 3 and Seat 8 — are up for grabs in the midterm election Nov. 6. 

Seven Democrats have announced intentions to run in the primary. Two are running for Seat 2, three are running for Seat 8 and two are running for Seat 3: Kehr and Catherine Stafford.

A primary on May 8 will shrink the pool to one Democrat per seat. No Republicans have filed to run in the judicial primary, though the party could still select a candidate in May or June for the general election if none run in the primary.

Jeff Kehr Ty Vinson Buy Photos

If the Republican party or another party does not select a candidate in May or June, the winning Democrat from the primary for each seat will, by default, also win the general election.

Kehr said he has spent his law career in public service as a prosecutor because he finds it satisfying. 

“When I go home at night, I have a good feeling about having done something positive,” he said. “I find it especially rewarding being in public service and having the opportunity to help victims, work with law enforcement and protect the public.”

Although his work as a prosecutor advocates for one side — that of the state and the victims — Kehr said part of his job as prosecutor is still ensuring the judicial process is fair. He said a duty to fairness is important for a judge, and transitioning into that role would build on his career experience.

“A judge serves the public like a prosecutor serves the public,” Kehr said. 

Kehr said his experience in the courtroom prosecuting criminal cases would help him as judge, whether he would preside over criminal or civil cases.

“You really have to know the rules of evidence, the trial procedure, the jury rules,” he said. “Those translate into a civil context as well.”

Should he be elected, Kehr said he will be respectful of people’s time while still taking time to hear the facts of each case.

“I’ll be fair and respectful towards litigants,” he said. “I will listen to each case anew and base my decisions based on the facts and the law.”

Outside the courtroom, Kehr coaches youth baseball, basketball and soccer. 

He also raises his two children with his wife, who he met while attending IU. He came to Bloomington in 1990 for his undergraduate education, and he said he hasn’t left since. 

“There’s something about this place that draws you,” he said. “It’s just a great little community.”

To read about the other candidates, see our Monroe County judicial election page here.

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