JP Election Brief: Focus on the Gulf States and Northwest
- May 18: Filing deadline in Washington
Mississippi Supreme Court race
A final candidate joined the Mississippi Supreme Court races on Friday, which was the candidate qualifying deadline. Rep. Earle Banks, a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives since 1992, is running against Chief Justice William Waller. The two will face-off in the general election on Nov. 6.
Banks stated, "For far too long, our Supreme Court has acted as if its sole purpose is to protect big corporations and out-of-state interests…I am entering this race because I want to be part of a judicial system that treats every Mississippian with fairness and dignity."
Waller, who was first elected to the Supreme Court in 1996, hopes voters will take note of his experience. He also countered Banks's statement, explaining, "I think that we have an excellent court, and I think that our court treats every Mississippian with fairness and dignity."
There are two other contested races for the high court in Mississippi in 2012. Josiah Dennis Coleman will compete against Richard T. Phillips to replace retiring Justice George Carlson. Also, incumbent Judge Mike Randolph faces a challenger in Talmadge Braddock.
In the News
Oregon primary results
- For a complete list of results, see the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals and Circuit Court election pages.
- Timothy Sercombe was unsuccessful in the primary leaving Richard C. Baldwin and Nena Cook to face off for position 3 in the November 6th election.
Court of Appeals
- Tim Volpert and James C. Egan will vie for position 6 in the November election. Allan J. Arlow was eliminated in the primary.
Oregon 3rd Judicial District, Position 11
Oregon 5th Judicial District, Position 3
Oregon 11th Judicial District, Position 2
- Thomas Spear and Aaron Brenneman were unsuccessful in the May 15th primary, leaving Andrew C. Balyeat and Beth Bagley to face off in the general election.
Oregon 12th Judicial District, Position 1
- Sally Avera defeated Stan Butterfield, becoming a new judge for the 12th district. She follows in her husband, Fred E. Avera's footsteps as he recently retired from the court.
Oregon 14th Judicial District, Position 2
Special election set for Louisiana Supreme Court
Governor Bobby Jindal has called for a special election to be held for the Louisiana Supreme Court 5th District seat of retiring Chief Justice Catherine D. Kimball. The election will be held on November 6, 2012. If a runoff is needed, that will take place on December 1. Candidates will qualify for the election from August 15 to 17. 
Texans getting ready to vote for judges
The Texas primary election is less than two weeks away, and races and news coverage are heating up! Endorsements for various candidates are ongoing, and voter guides are beginning to appear. The non-partisan voter guide for Tyler and Smith counties created by the League of Women voters can be found here. Many candidates in the Alvin-Mancel area have answered questions about the upcoming primaries in their local newspaper.
Three members of the Texas Supreme Court are facing re-election. Michele Petty, the democratic candidate challenging incumbent justice Nathan Hecht, filed a lawsuit last Friday seeking to delay the printing of ballots and other GOP primary materials on the premise that incumbent Hecht did not undertake all necessary steps to appear on the ballot. If Hecht were to be removed from the ballot, he would be out of the race as write-ins are not allowed in the primary election.
Circuit Court judge decides to retire
Craddock Verser, the Jefferson Superior Court judge in Washington, has announced that he has changed his mind and will not seek re-election to a third term on the bench. Instead, Judge Verser, who was diagnosed with and began receiving treatment for pancreatic cancer in July of last year, will step down at the end of his current term, which finishes at the end of the year.
Verser's announcement that he will not run for re-election comes just ten days after he declared that he intended to seek another term in his current position on the court. On April 28, Verser stated that he was "feeling great" and that his doctors had "given [him] a clean bill of health verbally," leading him to announce his intended candidacy. However, on May 8, he said that he was not "getting the assurances from [his] doctors" that he needed to pursue a campaign, and that he therefore had made the "tough decision" not to run. He expressed concern that further treatment might require him to spend time away from the bench, which would require substitute judges to fill in for him and would cost the county money. He also said he expected that his illness would be an election issue if anyone challenged him for his position.
Judge Verser was originally appointed to his position by Governor Gary Locke to replace Judge Thomas Majhan, who died of cancer while in office in 2002. Verser was elected to new terms in 2004 and 2008.  Verser has endorsed Keith Harper, an attorney from Port Townsend, to replace him on the bench. Harper has practiced law since 1980 and has served as part-time city prosecutor, part-time city attorney, judge pro tem, and court commissioner. 
The filing deadline for the August 7 primary election is this Friday, May 18. Be sure to check the Washington judicial elections, 2012 page in the next few weeks for developments!
Some Idaho voters avoid closed primary
On Tuesday, voters in the Gem State were asked to identify their party affiliation before receiving a Republican primary ballot, leading some to avoid the election altogether. The closed primary, which was championed by the Idaho Republican Party in a court case before the United States District Court for the District of Idaho, lead to a record-making low turnout of 23% of voter participation.  
The open primary system had been in affect for 38 years before declared unconstitutional last year. It was challenged because some members of the Republican Party believed that Democrats and Independents were purposely voting for Republican candidates in primaries in order to influence the outcome of elections. After the ruling in March 2011, Chairman Norm Semanko said, "This decision will allow the Idaho Republican Party to decide how to conduct its primary elections. We only ask, and have a right to expect, that members of the Democrat Party or other political parties will not choose our candidates for us. 
Tuesday's primary was the first time the new system was used. One unintended consequence was that some in professions requiring members to remain nonpartisan decided to not vote at all. This affected some judges, even though the Idaho Judicial Council expressly allowed its judges to participate. 
Judge Randy Smith, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, said, "I do not believe that I should declare what I am. I’m not supposed to be partisan. So I’m not voting. I’ve never not voted. It’s going to be sad." 
Because of the low turnout and other consequences of the closed primary, Republican leaders are discussing whether to revert to the old system in the future. 
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- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Clarion Ledger, "Banks running for court", May 11, 2012
- ↑ The Advocate, "Election set for Nov. 6 for Supreme Court seat," May 17, 2012
- ↑ Lindale News-Times, "League offers free voter’s guide," May 16, 2012
- ↑ League of Women Voters of Tyler/Smith counties
- ↑ Alvin Sun-Advertiser, "Candidates answer questions about their races in the general election primary," May 16, 2012
- ↑ Times Record News, "3 members of Texas Supreme Court face re-election," May 15, 2012
- ↑ CBS DWF, "3 Members Of Texas Supreme Court Face Re-Election," May 15, 2012
- ↑ Statesman, "Suit seeks to delay GOP primary," May 15, 2012
- ↑ The Statesman, "Hecht opponent sues to halt ballot printing," May 15, 2012
- ↑ Ballot Access, "Lawsuit Filed to Keep Texas Supreme Court Justice Off Republican Primary Ballot," May 15, 2012
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 Peninsula Daily News, "Verser changes mind, won’t run for third term as judge," May 8, 2012
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Peninsula Daily News, "‘I’m feeling great’: Judge Verser will seek re-election," April 28, 2012
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Idaho Statesman, "Record-low turnout could prompt Idaho GOP to revisit closed primary, Ysursa says," May 16, 2012
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 First Amendment Center, "Federal court sides with Idaho GOP in open-primary fight," March 3, 2011
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 Idaho Statesman, "Some Idahoans feel they can't vote in Tuesday's primary election," May 15, 2012
|This article was written by Katy Farrell, the Editor of Judgepedia. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.|