Mike Sharrit is finally the bride — and a judge.
Three times Sharrit was a nominee for gubernatorial appointment to the circuit bench.
Three times he was not selected.
“I have been a bridesmaid in that process a few times,” Sharrit said.
Tuesday night, Sharrit didn’t need a governor to appoint him to the bench. An overwhelming percentage of voters selected him to replace retiring Judge Brad Stetson.
“I’m very relieved and very pleased with the outcome,” Sharrit said after his 58,000-vote win.
He defeated Anthony Paul Penoso, owner of The Law Place of Jacksonville, by nearly a 4-1 margin.
Sharrit went into the election with endorsements that would mirror a Who’s Who list of Jacksonville politicians and lawyers. John Delaney, John Peyton, Jake Godbold, Tommy Hazouri, Sheriff John Rutherford, W.C. Gentry and Wayne Hogan were among the dozens of endorsements he has gathered since filing to run June 2013.
“We got everybody that I could have hoped for,” Sharrit said.
For more than a year, he campaigned in Clay, Duval and Nassau counties, which comprise the 4th Judicial Circuit. With a few exceptions, he said, “We’ve been in a different church every Sunday for the last year.”
The “we” includes his wife, Lisa, and their children, Haley, 13; Emmie, 11; and Ryan, 8.
“None of this would have been possible without her,” he said of his wife.
For the past six to eight months, he has stepped away from his work as a partner at Terrell Hogan and focused on the campaign.
“You always look back and think of things you could have done differently, done a little better,” he said. “But we did the big things well.”
Those big things included getting his message out through mailers. The campaign was able to do television advertising, as well.
The advertising was paid for through a war chest of $273,550, which included $140,000 in loans from Sharrit.
Penoso funded the majority of his $35,950.
A couple of hours after his victory, Sharrit said, “It was a good day today.”
But a long one. He had been on his feet all day until he arrived at his watching party at Mudville Grill. “I feel like a bank teller,” he said.
He left there as a judge.