Neupert, Hayden to vie in November for District 1 judgeship

PORT ANGELES — Third-place Clallam County primary election finisher Pam Lindquist threw her support Wednesday behind Clallam County District Court 1 judge candidate Dave Neupert.

The Port Angeles attorney offered her endorsement the morning after Neupert gained 48.43 percent of primary ballots that were counted in the initial count Tuesday.

Lindquist, Neupert and candidate Suzanne Hayden were vying to move on to the Nov. 6 general election. In Washington state’s top-two primary, the two who gain the most votes advance to the general election.

Neupert, the Peninsula Housing Authority lawyer and a District Court 1 judge pro tem, had 7,605 votes after Tuesday’s count for nearly half the total tallied.

That compares to 5,294, or 33.71 percent for Hayden, a Clallam Public Defender juvenile law attorney, and 2,805, or 17.86 percent, for Lindquist, who also ran unsuccessfully for the position in 2010.

There were 19,122 ballots counted Tuesday night out of 51,833 provided to registered voters for a 36.89 percent turnout in the District Court 1 geographic area.

It stretches from Diamond Point at the county’s eastern boundary through Port Angeles Precincts 1-13.

The next ballot count by the Auditor’s Office will be Friday by 4:30 p.m.

“I support Dave,” Lindquist said Wednesday.

“I think Dave is someone I can work with and try to get community service more easily done by the offenders so they can actually invest in the community.”

Hayden was “very pleased and encouraged by the results,” she said.

“The majority of people are saying the status quo isn’t OK, that they want the courts to be responsive to the community.”

Hayden said voters told her as she campaigned for their support that District Court defendants should be treated more respectfully by the court and that defendants should act with more respect while their cases are being heard, adding that was the message she heard, too, from Lindquist.

“People don’t want the same old, same old,” Hayden said, adding she intends to save the court money by getting rid of some court calendars.

“Dave has already said he isn’t going to change anything.”

Neupert’s support was widespread among primary election voters whose ballots were counted Tuesday.

Neupert, who ran unsuccessfully for county Superior Court judge in 2016 against Brian Coughenour, was ahead in 53 of 57 precincts.

Hayden was ahead in four precincts, three of which are in Port Angeles. Hayden was ahead east or west of Port Angeles only in the Elwha 230 precinct west of the city.

Neupert said he was encouraged by the results Tuesday night and expected to be the front runner after Friday’s count, when most of the primary votes will have been tallied.

“I wouldn’t expect there to be any seismic change in where we stand right now,” he said.

Neupert said he appreciates Lindquist’s support.

“I’ve talked to folks who know her and respected her through the campaign, so yeah, that would be fine.”

He said as he moves forward toward the general election in 12 weeks that he will continue to emphasize his experience and plans for the court.

Those plans include “making sure that when offenders come to the court that they are held accountable and that there’s a good opportunity to make proper use of community service work,” he said.

“We’ll certainly do that and streamline things on the civil side as well.”

Of the 8,800 cases handled in 2017 by District Court, 950 were civil and 121 were small claims cases, according to the District Court website at tinyurl.com/PDN-Cases.

The majority were traffic infractions, while the second highest number of cases were 1,087 criminal misdemeanors, in which defendants can be sentenced to up to a year in jail. There were 147 charges of driving under the influence.

Those convicted in criminal cases can be fined up to $5,000, serve up to a year in jail, or both.

District Court I also has jurisdiction over civil anti-harassment petitions and orders.

The next District Court 1 judge will succeed four-term incumbent Rick Porter, who is not seeking re-election.

The position will pay $164,313 beginning Sept. 1.

The race for the District 2 judgeship, which is between Erik Rohrer and John Black, will be on the November ballot. It was not on the August ballot.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].

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