Peculiar state rules for judicial elections require some unopposed judicial candidates to appear on the ballot this summer, while others won’t appear at all.
For instance, Supreme Court Chief Justice Barbara Madsen’s name must appear on the Aug. 17 primary and fall general election ballots, even though she had no opponent in last week’s filings. The same is true of Court of Appeals candidates who filed without opposition.
Yet three Thurston County District Court judges who drew no opponents won’t be on the ballot in August, but they will be on Nov. 2. They are Kalo Wilcox, Sam Meyer and M. Brett Buckley.
County Auditor Kim Wyman said different laws apply to each category or branch of the judicial system.
“The laws were passed independently and over time. So the different rules didn’t always take note of consistency. It’s built up over time. There’s never been a complete rewrite of the code,” added David Ammons, spokesman for the state Office of the Secretary of State.
There are other quirks in the balloting for judicial candidates, including:
Supreme Court candidates including Justice Madsen will appear on the primary ballot along with candidates in the two contested Supreme Court races. But if either Justice Jim Johnson or challenger Stan Rumbaugh gets more than 50 percent of the primary vote, only the winner advances to the November ballot; the same applies in the other race if either Justice Richard Sanders or challengers Charlie Wiggins or Bryan Chushcoff gets an outright majority of votes; otherwise the top two vote-getters advance.
Court of Appeals candidates without opponents follow the same route as the Supreme Court candidates and will appear on both ballots. This applies, for example, to Chief Judge Marywave Van Deren and Judge Lisa Worswick, two unopposed incumbents in the Division II district that serves Pierce County.
Superior Court judges in counties with population over 100,000 don’t have to appear on the ballot at all if they draw no opponents.
Brad Shannon, staff writer
Some of Sen. Patty Murray’s challengers are scheduled to debate today in Shelton.
Dino Rossi won’t be there, but the Mason County Republican Party’s website lists candidates who are confirmed for its forum: Republicans Paul Akers and Clint Didier, along with conservative independent Skip Mercer and a candidate who’s no longer in the race, Craig Williams.
The debate is at 5:30 p.m. in The Pavilion at Sentry Park. There’s a “pre-debate social” at 4 p.m. and those who attend can submit questions for the candidates.
Jordan Schrader, staff writer