Assistant DA announces run for Dauphin County judge - abc27 WHTM

Dauphin County

Assistant DA announces run for Dauphin County judge

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Fran Chardo's time has come.

So says Dauphin County's First Assistant District Attorney, who announced Tuesday afternoon that he's running for a soon-to-be-vacant judge seat in the Court of Common Pleas in 2013.

The announcement came as little surprise in front of a large and diverse crowd of supporters in the lobby of the Dauphin County Courthouse. District Attorney Ed Marsico, Chardo's boss, gave him a ringing endorsement in his introduction.

"I know of no prosecutor who's been more beloved by police officers across Dauphin County than Fran Chardo," Marsico said.

Cumberland County District Attorney Dave Freed is also endorsing Chardo and numerous policemen from various departments were in the crowd. Chardo's seeking the seat currently held by Judge Lawrence Clark, who is facing the mandatory judicial retirement age of 70.

After 19 years as a prosecutor, Fran Chardo wants the robe and gavel. He briefly ran a few years ago, but stepped aside to let others battle it out. He sort of took one for the Republican team. He hopes this is his time and his turn. 

"My qualifications have caused people to ask me to do this," he said. "I feel I'm ready to take the next step. I love doing what I do, but I believe I can continue to serve my community as a judge. Practicing as a trial lawyer is the best preparation to serve as trial judge."

Chardo was all smiles and handshakes with the crowd. He certainly schmoozed like a politician. He posed for pictures with his wife and two daughters like a politician. He's asking for votes and contributions like a politician. But he insists he's no politician.

"Fortunately, with judicial elections, they're not supposed to be partisan elections, so you're not talking about issues, you're talking about qualifications and character. So, I'm comfortable with running a judicial campaign in a way I wouldn't want to be a politician," he said. "I'm not a politician. I'm trying to do the right thing for the right reasons."

Though Chardo has heavyweight endorsements, he'll likely have a few heavyweight challengers. Dauphin County Recorder of Deeds and Hershey attorney Jim Zugay confirmed Tuesday he's considering a run and will decide early next year.

Former county solicitor Bill Tully is said to be a possible challenger as well. Tully did not return a phone call Tuesday.

The primary election is May 20, just over five months away.

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