Incumbent Shah heading off challenger in Eastside judge’s race
King County District Judge Ketu Shah was heading off a challenge Tuesday against an opponent backed by a defense lawyer-fueled PAC.
Seattle Times staff
King County District Judge Ketu Shah was leading in his re-election bid Tuesday against a well-funded challenger backed by a defense-lawyer-fueled political-action committee.
Shah captured 52 percent In Tuesday’s vote count to lead attorney Sarah Hayne in the Eastside court race, but was not declaring victory. “I am concerned. It is very much closer than I expected,” he said.
The district-court race was made controversial by the involvement of Citizens for Judicial Excellence (CJE), a PAC founded by DUI-defense attorneys.
CJE backed candidates in several races, but its influence was criticized even by some attorneys who used to be involved in the group.
Hayne is married to a CJE co-founder and declined to have her credentials evaluated by local bar associations, arguing the groups were biased.
Shah, who was appointed to the bench in 2013, was rated “exceptionally well qualified” by seven local bar associations, but Hayne and her allies argued he’d become biased toward prosecutors and made poor rulings.
CJE spent $48,000 on mailers, adding to Hayne’s $55,000 campaign effort. Shah raised $64,000.