MOORHEAD — The mayor of Moorhead will soon have a new title: Judge Johnathan Judd.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced Monday, Jan. 25, his appointment of Judd to replace Judge Barbara Hanson in the Seventh Judicial District. Judd will be chambered in Fergus Falls in Otter Tail County, according to a news release.

“Mr. Judd has championed fairness, justice and equality while working tirelessly to create open dialogue among community members throughout his impressive career in public service," Walz said in a news release. "I look forward to seeing him continue to work on behalf of the people of Minnesota.”

The statement did not say when Judd would start as a judge.

The Seventh Judicial District covers Becker, Benton, Clay, Douglas, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Stearns, Todd, and Wadena counties.

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The other finalists were Simon George, a Detroit Lakes lawyer, and Heidi Schultz, assistant Todd County attorney, who has also served in Douglas County and has ties to Alexandria.

Judd has worn many hats in the past when it comes to law. He was a public defender in the Seventh District, a prosecutor for Clay County and a private attorney for his own firm.

The appointment means he will have to step down as Moorhead's mayor. He was first elected in 2018, and his term doesn't end until 2022.

It's likely the city will have to appoint an interim mayor until a special election is held, Moorhead City Manager Dan Mahli had previously said.

Judd also is the director of equity and inclusion at Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Moorhead and an adjunct instructor at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

The mayor was one of three finalists considered for Hanson's opening. Hanson was appointed to the post in 2005, was elected three times to the position and stepped down Oct. 6.

She now serves as a statewide senior judge.