Member Login

Newport Commissioner Files to Replace Popovich as District Judge

The first to get in line - publicly - to replace retiring Judge Gregory Popovich as Campbell County District Judge is Newport City Commissioner John Hayden.

The 8-year veteran of the Newport City Commission announced his candidacy in a news release on Wednesday.

“Judge Popovich was an excellent jurist who served Campbell County well for the last two decades and I regret seeing him retire,” Hayden said. “I’m am confident that I have the experience, capabilities, temperament and energy to serve the people and deliver justice in the county and community where I was born, where I was raised, where I work and where I am raising my family.”

Hayden previously announced in January that he would not seek reelection to the city commission.

Popovich's retirement was made public this week and his recent run-ins with the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission, which sent a letter to Popovich on October 2, 2015 detailing 54 incidents of alleged judicial misconduct, Fort Thomas Matters reported. The misconduct centered around the Judge being "habitually impatient, undignified and discourteous" with attorneys and defendants. He accepted a suspension from the bench.

Hayden, who as a 21-year-old served as an intern to U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, was elected to the Newport City Commission in 2008, finishing ahead of, at the time, the longest serving Commissioner in the city’s history. A graduate of Newport High School, Thomas More College and Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Hayden has practiced law in Newport since 2007.

In the campaign announcement, Hayden cited his fiscal conservatism and Newport's growth and prosperity, and said that in his law practice he strives for justice and fairness.

“I look forward to serving the people of Campbell County as their next district judge,” Hayden said in the announcement. “I want to thank my parents for raising me to believe in justice, fairness and hard work. Those are the attributes I will bring to the Campbell County Courthouse, to the justice system and to the people of our community.”

Hayden and his wife, Nikki, a teacher in the Newport Independent School District, live in Newport with their four children. Nikki Hayden has filed to be a candidate for Newport City Commission.

The River City News is seeking clarification on when an election to replace Popovich may occur. In the meantime, Governor Matt Bevin is expected to appoint a replacement from three nominees.

-Staff report

Photo: John Hayden (provided) in foreground, Campbell Co. (RCN file) in background