Candidates backed by a prosecutors group didn’t win races but may have drawn attention to courts
BY RICHARD K. De ATLEY
Published: 06 June 2012 06:28 PM
Four incumbent judges challenged in the primary election appear to have kept their benches, but voters may look differently at the judiciary, said one candidate and the leader of the prosecutors’ union that backed him.
While three of the judges appear to have handily won their races, according to semiofficial results, the most contentious race, between Riverside County Superior Court Judge Craig Riemer and Supervising Deputy District Attorney John Henry, had the incumbent ahead by about 2.5 points on Wednesday, June 6.
Henry was backed by the Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Association, which put about $104,000 into his campaign through its political action committee and launched a website attack on Riemer and his judicial record. Riemer responded on his own website.
The association similarly targeted Judge Gary Tranbarger, who also used his website to answer the claims. The campaign against both judges attracted news media coverage. The debate about what constitutes a fair judicial decision went from courthouse hallways to supermarket aisles.
“I think it’s important to raise the awareness of what these judges do on a daily basis, and I think we accomplished that,” said John Aki, the president of the deputy district attorney association, which has about 280 members.
Henry said the judicial races helped “people understand that they need to pay attention to what goes on in the courts, just as much as they do with the city council, or the governor, or the legislature or even the presidency.”
Riemer said money is what made his race closer than the others.
“One-hundred thousand dollars to $150,000 is … certainly well over two times what I spent, and far more than what was spent by the challengers in any of the other three races. I think it’s the factor of the money spent by the challenger,” he said.
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