Kitsap Bar Poll: Enright and Houser finish in front

Kitsap lawyers polled on who should fill a vacant Superior Court seat showed their favorites are Deputy Prosecutor Chad Enright, finishing strong with 22 first choice votes, and public defender Bill Houser, who got 19.

Although missing out in the first choice column, Houser may have finished strongest overall. He received 23 second choice votes to Enright’s six second choice votes.

Houser also took the crown for “most qualified” with 53 votes. Enright and private practice attorney Greg Wall tied for second with 37 “most qualified” votes.

The results of the poll were forwarded Wednesday to Gov. Jay Inslee, who will likely make his pick during the first part of March. He is expected to interview a couple candidates in the coming weeks.

Whoever is picked will have to stand for election shortly after, and is expected to get to work immediately.

The seat was formerly occupied by Steven Dixon, who split Kitsap for the hills of Eastern Washington after being tapped for the only Superior Court seat in Adams County.

The poll has been criticized as a popularity contest. Others see it as a useful tool for gauging the opinions of lawyers about the colleagues. Who knows better a lawyer’s fitness for the robe than his or her peers?

Voting in each column was not required, so nothing kept lawyers from submitting ballots with undervotes. That didn’t stop bar members from giving U.S. Labor Department Specialized Examiner Tracy Flood 57 “not qualified” votes.

The poll was open to active members of the Kitsap Bar Association.

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