By Brad Segall and Walt Hunter

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman says she will not run for re-election, but instead will seek a seat as a Common Pleas Court judge.

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Ferman has spent more than two decades in the DA’s office and is just starting the final year of her second term as the county’s top law enforcement official. She is the first female District Attorney ever elected in Montgomery County, and in addition to a 98 percent conviction rate, Ferman says among the accomplishments she treasures most is her role in creating “Mission Kids,” the county’s first full service center for abused children. But looking back, she decided it was time to do something different – time, she says, for a new challenge.

“With my life’s work being here in the Montgomery County Courthouse,” she says, “it just seems to me to be a perfect fit to take the skills that I have and what I’ve learned over two decades in this place and hopefully be able to put them to use here with the bench in Montgomery County.”

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Her decision is expected to set off a flurry of activity as names start surfacing for possible candidates to succeed her. Many of the row offices in the county are led by Democrats. The District Attorney’s office is not.

Ferman says she will remain in her job and serve out her term because it’s her obligation to the voters who elected her. She told CBS3’s Walt Hunter that she hopes her legacy will be as a “protector” — a role she says she hopes she can continue as a judge.

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