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Nov. 29, 2020

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Bar association poll ranks Parcher as top pick for judge

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor
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Kristen Parcher
Kristen Parcher Photo Gallery

Local lawyers overwhelmingly support District Court Commissioner Kristen Parcher who’s among seven candidates vying to replace retiring District Court Judge James Swanger, according to opinion poll results released Wednesday afternoon.

Out of 214 respondents, Parcher received 101 votes in a Clark County Bar Association preference poll. She leads former Superior Court Judge Roger Bennett, the local bar association’s next choice, by 18.7 percentage points.

“I really appreciate the support of the (Clark County Bar Association). It shows people in the community know me and know what kind of work I do,” Parcher said in a phone interview.

Respondents gave Parcher the highest ratings in temperament and integrity. Bennett scored the highest in the remaining categories of legal ability and relevant legal experience. His averages for each category, in terms of qualification, overall showed that members think he is most qualified.

Bennett said he was gratified by the poll results and was not particularly surprised. He’s been off the bench for five years, he said, so he hasn’t had the same opportunity that Parcher has to meet any new lawyers.

“(Parcher) is a very personable and enjoyable person, and a very good judicial candidate. I support her 100 percent — well, make that 99 percent,” Bennett said, chuckling. He added that he feels good about the application process so far.

The other candidates received votes as follows: criminal defense attorney Chad Sleight, 10.28 percent; Assistant Vancouver City Attorney Brent Boger, 5.61 percent; criminal defense attorney John Lutgens, 4.21 percent; criminal defense attorney Louis Byrd Jr., 1.87 percent; none of the candidates, 1.4 percent; and criminal defense attorney Zeed Meyer, 0.93 percent.

The poll is just one factor county councilors will weigh in vetting the candidates. The council plans to choose a successor by Tuesday.

Council Chair Marc Boldt said in a phone message that the council talked about the vacancy during its executive session Wednesday. Councilors plan to go over résumés during a special meeting at noon Monday to decide which candidates to interview. Interviews will take place Tuesday afternoon. They will deliberate after and announce their decision.