FORT WAYNE – There were hugs and handshakes.
There were slaps on backs, arms draped around shoulders, jokes, barbs and zingers spread around.
If nothing else, the announcement of four Allen County Superior Court judges seeking election or re-election was a chummy affair.
Superior Court judges Fran Gull, John Surbeck, Stanley Levine and Craig Bobay made a joint appearance before a throng of well-wishers in a county courtroom Tuesday.
Those well-wishers included business owners, community leaders, colleagues and fellow elected officials.
All four took turns at a microphone after being introduced with litanies of career accomplishments.
Gull was praised for her work in creating a veterans’ court with Circuit Court Judge Tom Felts. Levine was commended for his service in the Air National Guard, his Indiana Lawyer Distinguished Barrister Award and his work in developing programs for the mentally ill.
Surbeck was recognized for the William Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence, which he received at the U.S. Supreme Court. And Bobay was given kudos for his work as a magistrate for 16 years.
But there was plenty of time for some joking and light-heartedness.
Sometimes it feels like we’re doing a eulogy up here, said Gull, referencing the practice of going over accomplishments.
All four made similar comments in wanting to continue to serve Allen County residents.
Should they win, their terms would last six years.
I think I have the right mix of temperament, intellect and personality to serve well, said Bobay, who was appointed to his position in the civil division by the governor a little more than six months ago and is running for his first election.
I’ve been here for 26 years beginning next month, said Surbeck, who was appointed as a judge in 1988 and has been elected three times. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and think I’ve done it well.
Afterward, the judges and supporters began to mingle, with handshakes and plenty of pictures commencing.