Judicial Choices: Johnson, Sanders, Johanson

Winners will (or could) be determined Aug. 17

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Voters, take special note of how three judicial races are different from other showdowns on the Aug. 17 primary ballot. Although the primary typically advances the top two vote-getters to the Nov. 2 election, it’s different in judicial races.

Judicial races with two candidates are put on the primary ballot rather than waiting for November, and winners are determined in the primary. Two such races are on this year’s ballot: incumbent Jim Johnson vs. Stan Rumbaugh for state Supreme Court justice, Pos. 1, and Jill Johanson vs. Joseph Daggy for Washington Court of Appeals. Even in three-candidate races, a winner can emerge by gaining a majority of votes in the primary. There is one such race this year: incumbent Richard Sanders vs. challengers Charlie Wiggins and Bryan Chushcoff for Supreme Court justice, Pos. 6.

Johnson has been a consistent protector of open government in his six years on the court and has earned the people’s confidence by defending our state’s superb primary system. He has a big advantage in experience; Rumbaugh has never served as a judge and is too closely tied to labor unions.

Sanders is another incumbent who has earned re-election, despite his maverick tendencies. He has both angered and drawn endorsements from Republicans and Democrats, proving his independence. He has served on the court since 1995. Controversial but brilliant and articulate, Sanders’ disregard for partisan influences, and his fierce defense of individual rights makes him a good fit for the court.

For Court of Appeals, Johanson has served eight years as Cowlitz County Superior Court Judge. She is endorsed by numerous judges while her opponent, Joseph Daggy, trails both in meaningful endorsements and experience. Voters can rest comfortably by choosing Johnson, Sanders and Johanson. Remember, in two and possibly three of these races, winners will be decided on Aug. 17.