The other day I bemoaned the race for King County Superior Court Position 22, where one well-heeled candidate’s $70,000 personal contribution threatens to swamp the campaigns of her qualified opponents.
But it turns out money isn’t the only the factor that plays a role in local judicial elections. No, sometimes petty spite comes into play too… at least, that seems to be the case with ambulance chaser personal injury attorney Matt Hale, less than four years a practicing attorney, who is challenging two-term incumbent Judge Laura Jean Middaugh for KC Superior Court Position 26.
So where does the spite come into this race? Well, get this… the Hale campaign has turned to Washington’s “Off-Highway Vehicle” community for much of their support, not because of any decision that Judge Middaugh made, but solely because she is married to State Sen. Adam Kline, author of an infamously inflammatory (and somewhat amusing) email in defense of his support of legislation restricting the use of OHVs on public land.
Get that? OHV enthusiasts are working to defeat Middaugh as payback to her husband for writing an email that just plain pissed them off. As one commenter wrote on an OHV forum in response to questions about Hale’s qualifications:
The intent behind supporting this guy is primarily to mess with Senator Kline.
Now is that any way to choose a judge?
No, of course not. With just three years of legal practice under his belt, and possibly zero courtroom experience (we don’t know for sure because he’s refused to provide any biographical information on his Muni League questionnaire or in the Voters’ Guide), the baby faced Hale clearly lacks the wisdom, maturity and legal experience to serve as a Superior Court judge. Yet… you know… if it messes with Sen. Kline, that’s good enough for his supporters.
Yeah, I know… railing against judicial elections is the blogging equivalent of tilting at windmills. But come on… our current system just plain sucks.