Often overlooked and under-covered election races are for the most influential seats in the state, with the longest terms.
The race to become the next Washington State Supreme Court justice comes down to a choice between incumbent Steven González, who was ranked "exceptionally well-qualified" by 10 of the state's bar associations, and Nathan Choi, who has reported no money raised and was sued by the state attorney general for allegedly violating campaign finance laws last year.
And whoever wins will hold the seat for six years, on the highest court in the state—which has recently overturned the death penalty, called out the state Legislature for not fully funding education, and could soon rule on whether income taxes are constitutional.
González has held the position since he was first appointed in 2012, then won an election later that year. Before that, he served on the King County Superior Court for 10 years as a trial judge. He's received several federal, state, and local awards from his time as both a judge and assistant U.S. attorney.
Choi, by contrast, offers nothing about his qualifications on his campaign website other than claiming to have both an MBA and law degree. He believes in a slew of conspiracy theories, including falsely accusing González of paying "almost $300,000 in multiple media outlets" to create fake editorials that cast Choi in a bad light. He also includes YouTube links about the "Deep State," as Northwest News Network reported.
Choi unsuccessfully ran for the state Court of Appeals last year. During that campaign, he failed to file expenditures—as is required by state law—but took out a full-page ad in The Seattle Times with a headline, "Vote for Judge Nathan Choi." The Seattle Times reported that the King County Bar Association slammed him and found the ad misleading, saying voters could be led to believe he's currently a judge.
Attempts to find Choi in the Washington State Voter Database were also unsuccessful, while González has a record of never missing an election since at least 2005.
The big takeaway—let's not take judicial races for granted. Do your homework, and vote González.