ST. PAUL -- Four candidates have emerged as finalists to fill two upcoming judicial vacancies in Stearns County.

The Commission on Judicial Selection has recommended attorneys Tara Ferguson Lopez, Laura Moehrle, Karl Schmidt and Nathaniel Welte as finalists. Governor Tim Walz will make the appointments in the coming weeks.

Lopez is a Senior Assistant Hennepin County Attorney.

Moehrle is a civil trial attorney, shareholder and Chief Financial Officer for Quinlivan & Hughes law firm.

Schmidt is a Senior Assistant Benton County Attorney.

Welte is an Assistant County Attorney for the Becker County Attorney's Office.

The open seats on the bench are a result of the upcoming retirements of Judge Frank Kundrat and Judge John Scherer.

Both of the 7th Judicial District vacancies will be chambered in St. Cloud.

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