two candidates for Bremerton Municipal Court judge are facing
new challenges less than a week before the votes are
At some point during this month, signs for attorney Ed Wolfe, who is challenging incumbent judge James Docter, began appearing with small placards that say “RATED Highly Qualified” (see photo that was emailed to me by a Docter supporter).
In a letter to the editor in our paper today, Kevin “Andy” Anderson (a lawyer who works as a county prosecutor) contends that the Kitsap County Bar Association poll results fly in the face of that placard. I’ll let you decide: the results, as published to votingforjudges.org, are thus:
Of 63 attorneys, Ed Wolfe was rated:
“Highly Qualified” by 15 lawyers;
“Qualified” by 17 lawyers;
“Not Qualified” by 26 lawyers;
And five abstained.
UPDATE: I spoke with Wolfe today (Monday) about the signs. He said he was “disappointed,” by my blog post, and that with the bar association poll results, “I feel comfortable saying I’m highly qualified based on that representation.”
He said that the poll was still taken by only 63 lawyers, even though there are hundreds of attorneys in the county.
Meanwhile, Port Orchard resident Stephen P. Miller has filed a complaint with the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) against incumbent James Docter. His allegation: that Docter stated, during a Bremerton Kiwanis candidate forum Oct. 8, he, nor his clerks, had found evidence that Wolfe had handled a criminal trial in Bremerton Municipal Court. Miller believes that a “reasonable person” would conclude Docter was using city paid clerks to help with his campaign.
I called Docter about the allegation, and he said he felt it was “completely baseless.” He said he’d asked a clerk at lunch one day if she could recall anytime Wolfe had in fact handled a criminal trial in order to double check his own memory.
I also checked with Theresa Ewing, Bremerton Municipal Court administrator. Ewing said she must remain neutral in elections: “We serve whoever wears the robe.”
She explained she was in the court’s break room at lunch one day when Docter and a clerk discussed if Wolfe had handled any such trials. But she was adamant that such discussions did not happen while on the city’s paid time.
The complaint won’t be followed up by the PDC until after election day.