Judge Woolard easily defeats Townsend

She collects nearly 63% of primary votes

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

 
photoDiane Woolard
photoJosephine Townsend

Clark County Superior Court Judge Diane Woolard easily defeated challenger Josephine Townsend on Tuesday, capturing nearly 63 percent of the votes to retain her seat.

Of 41,631 votes counted Tuesday night, Woolard picked up 25,258 votes to Townsend's 14,749. Under Washington law, judicial races are decided in the primary if any candidate wins more than 50 percent of the votes.

The race was the first time that Woolard has drawn an opponent in 12 years.

Tuesday night, Woolard said: "I'm very gratified to win another four years."

She added that she hadn't been quick to assume she'd win re-election, as attorneys are competitive in nature and "it's not done until it's over."

Townsend, a private practice lawyer who formerly served as Vancouver's city prosecutor, has long sought to join the bench. She's unsuccessfully vied for the District Court and Superior Court previously and chose to run against Woolard this year because of what she referred to as the judge's inconsistent rulings. She said Woolard was often overturned on appeal.

But in a meeting with The Columbian's editorial board, Townsend spoke highly of the judge.

Townsend did not make a comment Tuesday night, except to say: "Good luck to her. She ran a good race."

Woolard, 68, was a criminal defense and family law attorney before being appointed to the bench.

Townsend, 52, served as Vancouver's city prosecutor for three years before resigning in 2005 because of irreconcilable differences with her boss. She did not mount a highly visible campaign, raising less than $5,000, and did not receive any key endorsements.

Woolard, on the other hand, raised more than $7,500 and garnered support from Clark County Prosecutor Tony Golik, the Vancouver Police Officers Guild, the Clark County Sheriff's Deputies Guild and several sitting judges.

Woolard received 87 percent of the votes in a Clark County Bar Association preference poll conducted last month, compared with Townsend's 13 percent.

Laura McVicker: www.twitter.com/col_courts;www.facebook.com/reportermcvicker;laura.mcvicker@columbian.com; 360-735-4516.