In the coming months, Cathleen Nichols will be out collecting signatures as she attempts to challenge fellow Democrat Joe Lodge as the Coconino County Superior Court Division V judge. Lodge has already declared his candidacy as well.

Nichols has started a candidate committee for one of four criminal justice positions up for election this November.

The other open positions are County Attorney, Sheriff and Superior Court Division III judge. So far, Nichols, a lifelong Democrat, is the only declared challenger to incumbents in any of the positions.

Nichols is currently a Flagstaff Justice of the Peace and is already a pro tem superior court judge who fills in for other judges when they're absent or have a conflict with a case.

She also ran in 2010 for Division I judge and lost to Republican Jacqueline Hatch by 2 percent of the vote.

Division V was operated only part-time before the last census and it became a full-time elected position beginning on January 1, 2011. This will be the position's first election. Lodge, formerly the lead Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Flagstaff office, was appointed by Governor Jan Brewer to fill the seat in 2010.

He had worked for the U.S. Attorney's Office since 1989.

County Attorney David Rozema kicked off his re-election campaign in November.

"It is a great honor to serve the people of Coconino County," Rozema said at the time. "I am proud of our office's accomplishments during the last three years."

He has worked in the attorney's office for 20 years as a prosecutor and eventually as Chief Deputy. Rozema handily won the Democratic primary in 2008 and was not challenged in the general election. The yearly salary for the County Attorney is $123,768.

County Sheriff Bill Pribil has not formally announced his re-election campaign but has declared his candidacy to the elections administrator. Pribil is in charge of policing county lands and overseeing the jail. The position currently pays $100,824 per year.

Division III Judge Mark Moran has yet to declare his candidacy to elections administrators, but he told the Daily Sun he does intend to run for re-election this fall. Moran is the court's presiding judge, meaning he helps handle administrative functions, including budget, case flow management and recommending pro tem judges for appointment. Superior court judges make $145,000 per year, with the county paying for half of the salary and the state paying the remainder.

Eric Betz can be reached at 556-2250 or ebetz@azdailysun.com.

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