Callahan native to serve as county judge

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  • Jenny Higginbotham Barrett unofficially beat John Cascone for county judge in a runoff election Tuesday after neither garnered 50% plus one vote in a four-way race during the August primary.
    Jenny Higginbotham Barrett unofficially beat John Cascone for county judge in a runoff election Tuesday after neither garnered 50% plus one vote in a four-way race during the August primary.
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Nassau County has a new county judge after Tuesday’s Election Day.

Jenny Higginbotham Barrett, a Callahan native and finance attorney, unofficially defeated John Cascone by a significant margin.

Barrett collected 31,961 votes (58.96%), while Cascone, a Fernandina Beach criminal defense attorney, secured 22,247 votes (41.04%).

“It’s still sinking in,” Barrett said Thursday morning. “At the end of the day, one vote is all that it takes. Everybody’s vote counts. People wanted to be a part of the process. I’m just elated that we had such a huge turnout in Nassau County. I’m proud of our county for voting.”

Barrett replaces Wesley R. Poole, who was appointed to the county judge position by Gov. Rick Scott in 2013.

Barrett, 44, is a graduate of the University of North Florida and Florida State University’s College of Law. For the past 16 years, Barrett has worked for Fidelity Investments as an attorney with a focus on insurance contracts, disputes, torts, mortgage fraud and wire fraud.

Three circuit court judges are assigned to Nassau County, and the county judge handles  county/criminal misdemeanors, criminal traffic, civil traffic, small claims and county civil cases.

Barrett said she wants to work for the people of Nassau County.

“This position is the people’s judge,” Barrett said. “The majority of people in Nassau County will appear before a county judge. These are the cases that are closest to the people.

“I will be upholding the law. I anticipate being a tough, but fair, judge. I was raised in this community and I feel like I know this community well.

“I’m just thrilled to be able to serve the people of Nassau County. I’m a product of Nassau County, and I’m happy to serve Nassau County.”

sjbryan@fbnewsleader.com