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3 candidates vie for treasurer post

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Three candidates have emerged in what has become a contested race to serve a three-year term as ABA treasurer starting in 2017.

The candidates made their first formal presentations to the Nominating Committee in August during the ABA Annual Meeting.

Michelle A. Behnke, Timothy W. Bouch and Kara I. Smith announced their candidacies only weeks before the meeting, after James Dimos withdrew as the only declared candidate. He accepted an ABA staff position as deputy executive director. Dimos, a past president of the Indiana State Bar Association, started in his new position on Aug. 31.

While the race for treasurer will be contested, it is not expected to be contentious. Contests for ABA officer positions, when they do occur, are generally low-key affairs, especially because they are decided primarily by the 68-member Nominating Committee, which places a high value on civility in its deliberations and decisions.

Behnke is principal of Michelle Behnke & Associates in Madison, Wisconsin. She is a past president of the State Bar of Wisconsin and a past member of the ABA Board of Governors. She currently serves in the House of Delegates. As state delegate from Wisconsin, she is a member of the Nominating Committee.

Bouch is managing partner at Leath, Bouch & Seekings in Charleston, South Carolina. He is a member of the Board of Governors and the House of Delegates, and he is a past chair of the ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section.

Smith of Moore, Oklahoma, is an assistant state attorney general. At the ABA, she is a member of the Standing Committee on Technology and Information Systems.

The committee will select one candidate in February at the 2016 midyear meeting in San Diego, and the committee’s choice is virtually assured of being formally elected by the House of Delegates in August 2016 at the annual meeting in San Francisco. After election, the nominee will serve for a year as treasurer-elect, then serve a three-year term as treasurer starting at the close of the 2017 annual meeting in New York City.

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