Last year, they sought the approval of the governor.
This year, they’ll seek the approval of voters.
Randy Gaylord, 51, and John Linde, 60, have filed candidacies for San Juan County Superior Court judge. The filing period ends Friday at 4:30 p.m. The primary election is Aug. 19.
Elections Supervisor Doris Schaller said if either candidate receives at least 50 percent of the vote plus one, the race is decided in the primary. If neither receives at least 50 percent plus one — because of a write-in candidate, for example, the race continues until the Nov. 4 general election. The race can also be extended to the general election if someone files a write-in candidacy within 10 days after the primary, Schaller said.
The Superior Court judge serves a four-year term and is paid $140,000 a year; half is paid by the county, half by the state.
The election is historic because it is the first time that San Juan County residents will vote for a judge of their own. Islanders formerly shared judges with Island County. The San Juan County Judicial District was created last year by the Legislature, at the behest of the County Council and Superior Court judges. Gaylord and Linde both sought appointment by Gov. Christine Gregoire; Linde won the appointment and took office Jan. 1.
Gaylord, San Juan County’s prosecuting attorney since 1994, announced his candidacy Saturday after completing the San Juan Island Marathon.
“I look forward to hearing from the people and what they expect from the first Superior Court judge to be elected for San Juan County,” Gaylord said later in a prepared announcement. “This first election within the county really is history in the making.
“This is an exciting time to be involved in an election. Change is a major theme across the country. It is a theme that led to the County Charter and it is time to take it to the Superior Court.”
As prosecuting attorney, Gaylord has been involved in advising on and implementing the County Charter. He wrote and defended the nation’s first ordinance banning Jet Skis, established the crime victim services program; established ordinances implementing the charter; and wrote laws protecting the Southern resident killer whale population.
Gaylord said that, as judge, he would conduct court on Lopez and Orcas islands from time to time.
“If the state Supreme Court can hold hearings around the state, the Superior Court could hold hearings on Orcas and Lopez,” Gaylord said.
Gaylord is also a proponent for the use of modern technology, video/audio hearings and electronic filings.
Gaylord earned his juris doctorate from University of Utah. Prior to his election as prosecuting attorney, he was in private practice for nine years and served as hearing examiner in Spokane and judge pro tem in San Juan County District Court. He and and his wife, Marny, live on Orcas Island and have two children, Colin and Genna.
Linde received his juris doctorate from Willamette University College of Law. He served as San Juan County District Court judge for 21 years — he became judge at age 29 — and served as court commissioner and Superior Court judge pro tem. He was also a private-practice attorney from 1987 until his appointment as judge.
Linde and his wife, Carol, live on San Juan Island and have two adult children, Brian and Kristen.
Linde believes he has the strongest background for a full term as judge.
“The primary issue will be qualifications. Having practiced for 36 years in the community that I love — a very general, broad-based practice of law where I got to know my clients and serve them, sometimes from cradle to grave — gave me a background for just about anything that would come in the door of the Superior Court,” he said. “My broad-based practice, coupled with 21 years on the District Court, gave me the ability to develop the temperament and ability to function as a good Superior Court judge.”
Linde said he is working without support staff; the county budgeted for 2/10s of a person. He said the county clerk’s staff is assisting him with typing opinions, forwarding documents and scheduling court reporters. “Fortunately, I have a very good relationship with the clerk’s office.” He is working with the county administrator and the human resources director to find the resources to pay for a Superior Court aide.
“We are working to massage my meager little budget. By the middle of the year, I hope to hire someone, if not full-time then part-time.”