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Your Choice for Judge in the Mercer County Court House

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County Election Lineup Set


Herald Assistant Editor | News

MERCER — If the conventional wisdom about ballot placement is correct, the big winners in last week’s ballot draw included Michael Joanow, Tedd Nesbit, Matt McConnell and Michael Muha.

Those four and others will occupy the first place on the ballot for contested primary races in Mercer County. The county Department of Voter Registration and Elections held a drawing of lots to determine ballot location for the May 21 primary.

Jeff Greenburg, Mercer County elections director, said nobody contested any candidate’s nomination petition during the seven-day challenge period following the March 12 deadline for submitting petitions and ethics forms.

Joanow will be listed first on the Republican ticket for election to fill two vacancies for Mercer County Court of Common Pleas judge. With judge a non-partisan position, all five candidates are running on both parties’ ballots, which allowed Nesbit, a Republican state representative from Grove City, to be listed first on the Democratic side.

Beneath Joanow, the Republican ballot will include, in order, Ronald Amrhein, Ryan Mergl, Margaret Lucas and Nesbit. The Democratic list is Nesbit, Lucas, Joanow, Amrhein and Mergl.


Attorney Joanow seeking common pleas judgeship


MERCER — Attorney Michael Joanow is emphasizing his 30-year legal  career as he runs for one of two vacancies on the Mercer County Court of  Common Pleas.

“In order to properly direct and lead, you have to  have done it,” Joanow said. “I’ve been through pretty much every  procedure that would come through the court, and I’ve argued it on both  sides. I understand what the law requires to come to a solution.”

The  lifelong Mercer County resident is a registered Republican. He is  cross-filing, which means his name will be on both the Republican and  Democratic tickets for the May 21 primary.

Joanow earned his  bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh before finishing his  law degree at Ohio Northern University. He landed his first job in the  legal field as a clerk for former Common Pleas Judge Francis Fornelli,  who Joanow said taught him to always “think like a judge.”

Joanow said that Fornelli’s advice meant to always see both sides of an equation to give each side a “fair shake.”

As  a lawyer, Joanow said it was not only important to understand the  issues of his own client, but to understand those of the opposing side,  as well.

“You have to see the strengths and weaknesses of  everyone,” he said. “You have to see how one argument fails before you  see how one argument wins, and you have to do that effectively to solve  the problem at hand.”

Following his clerkship, Joanow practiced as an associate of Routman,  Moore, Goldstone and Valentino in Sharon, and as a partner at the  Douglas & Joseph firm in Hermitage. He founded his own firm in  Hermitage — Joanow Legal Group — where he serves as president.

It  will have been roughly two years without two full-time common pleas  judges by the time the newly elected judges take the bench. The county  has four judgeships. As the work piles up for whomever wins the seats,  Joanow echoed that his experience in wide variety of cases and  courtrooms will put him in a position to step in and do the job  effectively right away.

“This  is not a job that you should be getting on-the-job training,” he said.  “Will there be a learning curve? Sure. But my experience has put me in a  really good position to do the job.”

Joanow serves on the boards  of the Community Food Warehouse of Mercer County, and the Mercer County  District 2 Little League and Hermitage Girls Softball Association. He  has also served other local charities including the Mercer County Cancer  Society, the Farrell Lions Club and Shenango Valley Junior Achievement.

“It’s  just another opportunity to serve the community,” he said. “The  (community) is part of who I am, and to understand how (Mercer County  citizens) think and feel is extremely important, especially if you are  to be representing those people on the bench (as judge).”

Joanow  lives in Hermitage with his wife Laurie and their four children:  Anthony, who serves in the Army’s 101st Airborne at Fort Campbell, Ky.;  Sophia, a junior at Slippery Rock University; Nickolas, a senior at  Hickory High School; and Angelique, a seventh-grader at Delahunty Middle  School.

“It would be my honor to serve the people of Mercer  County,” Joanow said. “It would be my pleasure to show what I have to  offer the county.”

Five candidates are cross-filed for the two  nominations on each of the Republican and Democratic ballots. The other  candidates are Ronald Amrhein, Ryan Mergl, Margaret T. Lucas and Tedd  Nesbit.

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Serving The Community


  • Michael Joanow has been part of this community for many years, working tirelessly to make it a better place. Having served on boards for Community Food Warehouse, Mercer County Bar Association, Mercer County Cancer Society, Farrell Pa Lions Club and Junior  Achievement to name a few. Michael Joanow now needs your help to win this election!

The Best Choice for Mercer County Judge


  • Being a lifelong resident of Mercer County and  practicing civil, criminal as well as administrative law for over 30 years makes Michael Joanow  uniquely qualified to serve as your next judge in the Mercer County  Court of Common Pleas  



  • Donating his time as Stadium Announcer for Hickory High School Football is a classic example of Michael Joanow's dedication to this community. 
  • Michael Joanow can't win this election without your help...Word-of-mouth, donating and asking your friends to vote are all ways of helping us achieve our goals to get him elected.


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