Incumbent judge wins, another fills open seat
Charles Bailey has turned back his challenger for a third term as a Washington County judge.
He will be joined on the bench by Kathy Proctor, a Beaverton lawyer who won a contest for a newly created judgeship.
Both appeared to have won by similar margins in unofficial returns from the May 15 election.
For Position 6, Bailey won 63 percent to 37 percent for Steven Charles Burke, a senior associate at the Beaverton firm of Case & Dusterhoff.
For Position 15, Proctor won 62 percent to 38 percent for Todd Huegli, who has practiced at Huegli-Fraser PC in Portland since 2012.
Four other judges, all incumbents, were unopposed for new six-year terms. They are Erik Bucher in Position 3, Oscar Garcia in Position 9, Janelle Factora Wipper in Position 11, and Jim Fun in Position 13.
Judicial contests are rare. But Bailey, the current presiding judge of Washington County Circuit Court, got in a tangle with Burke over who had the right blend of legal experience for Oregon's second most populous county.
Bailey spent most of his years after he earned his law degree as a deputy district attorney — from 1998 to 2006 — before he was elected to the bench in 2006.
Burke said he offered a more diverse blend of civil cases, family law and probate, and criminal defense.
Bailey became the presiding judge in 2015, when then-Judge Suzanne Upton filed a notice of a tort claim against him and brought attention to a feud between the judges. Upton was re-elected without opposition in 2016 and retired from the bench in 2017. (She is married to John Foote, the Clackamas County district attorney.)
Bailey declined comment, saying that the Oregon Judicial Department legal counsel had advised him to say nothing. But he denied the allegations raised by Upton in the tort claim notice.
Judge Andrew Erwin, the court's chief criminal judge who endorsed Bailey for re-election, filed a complaint against Burke with the Oregon State Bar and the Commission on Judicial Fitness. Erwin accused Burke of misstating the legal backgrounds of 10 of the 14 judges as having primary experience with only criminal law. Burke modified his statements, but said the court could benefit from more judges who were other than former prosecutors or criminal defense lawyers.
In a preference poll conducted by the Oregon State Bar, Burke got 142 votes, Bailey 91.
In the same poll, Proctor got 124 votes, Huegli 113.
Huegli said he offered broader legal experience for the open judgeship than Proctor, who has focused on family law in her practice in Beaverton.
But Proctor argued that her background is what the court needs as other judges with relevant experience retire from the bench — and that only four of the current 14 judges on the court are women.