Clallam District Court 1 Judge Rick Porter to run again

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Rick Porter will seek a fourth four-year term as Clallam County District Court 1 judge.

Porter, first elected in 2002, announced Friday he intends to seek re-election this year to the position he won by a large margin against two opponents in 2010.

“It is with profound humility that I am announcing my intention to run for re-election,” he said in a statement.

Porter, 55, a 16-year Port Angeles resident, said he will not accept campaign contributions or endorsements from lawyers, the county bar association or “any other special interests” in his quest to secure the $148,881-a-year position.

“To do so would serve only to undermine the independence and integrity of the office,” he said in the statement.

He counts as his major accomplishment running a budget surplus every year, he said Friday.

Pay-or-appear

He also pointed with pride to a pay-or-appear system he initiated during his first term.

Under the program, fine-payers pay a certain amount a month to pay off the fines for criminal misdemeanors and traffic infractions or appear before him to explain why they are delinquent.

They also can do community service to pay off the debt by getting paid minimum wage.

Non-payers can be arrested for not paying fines, a situation that critics said in the 2010 election creates a “debtor's prison.”

Porter presents the program as a revenue generator and a way for citizens to pay off their fines without going to jail.

He said Friday he had improved the program by entering into a contract with Friendship Diversion Services, which confirms all hours that are turned in, in March.

“More opportunities to succeed is what this is about,” he said.

The program was an issue in the 2010 campaign against state Assistant Attorney General Tim Davis, a strong critic of the program, and Port Angeles lawyer Pam Lindquist.

But Porter was popular with voters.

He won 57 percent of the vote in the 2010 primary to Davis' 26 percent and Lindquist's 17 percent, thus easily winning re-election.

Under state law for District and Superior Court judges, candidates who win a majority in the primary automatically win the position unless a write-in candidate defeats the primary winner in the general election.

Emailed statements

Porter said another improvement he instituted during the past four years was a program under which he accepts emailed statements from people who are mitigating or contesting a civil traffic infraction, he said.

“Those folks do not have to take time off from work or time off from school,” he said.

“That's one of the things I'm happy with, and it's popular.”

Filing week for the Aug. 5 primary is May 12-16. The general election will be Nov. 4.

Other Clallam County positions up for election are held by county Commissioner Mike Doherty, Sheriff Bill Benedict, Prosecuting Attorney William Payne, Department of Community Development Director Sheila Roark Miller, Auditor Patty Rosand, Treasurer Selinda Barkhuis, Assessor Pam Rushton, Forks-area District Court 2 Judge John Doherty and Clallam County Public Utility District Commissioner Hugh Haffner.

All are four-year terms except for Haffner's seat, which is six years.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: February 15. 2014 4:54PM
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