The Clarion-Ledger is reporting that Hinds County Circuit Judge Swan Yerger will not run for reelection when his current term expires on December 31, 2010.
Judge Yerger is 74 years old and has served on the bench since 1997. There have been rumors over the last few months that Judge Yerger would retire at the end of this year, which would allow Governor Barbour to appoint a replacement to serve until the next election. Judge Yerger currently presides over the Eaton v. Frisby trade secrets case, which is probably the biggest case currently pending in any Mississippi state court. Perhaps Judge Yerger plans to stay on the bench through 2010 so that he can preside over the trial of that case.
Speculation will be rampant over who will run for the seat in 2010. The early favorite would have to be successful Jackson plaintiff attorney Ashley Ogden. Ogden ran against Yerger in the last election and almost won. Rumors around town are that Ogden already plans to run for the seat. Ogden is young and energetic and would be a formidable opponent for any candidate. Republican interests would fear Ogden due to his plaintiff lawyer background. Ogden’s firm web site is called Take Back Jackson and suggests that he never stopped campaigning for the seat. Former Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Jim Smith is now associated with Ogden’s firm. The conservative Smith’s active support in a campaign would be a huge benefit to Ogden’s chances.
There is no doubt that Judge Yerger’s retirement and the looming election to replace him will be a huge story in 2010.