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August 17, 2010 at 9:00 PM

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Johnson re-elected to Supreme Court

Posted by Jack Broom

One-term incumbent state Supreme Court Justice James Johnson convincingly won re-election, defeating his challenger, Tacoma attorney Stan Rumbaugh, in a race decided in this primary election.

With 51 percent of state precincts reporting, Johnson led 62 percent to 38 percent, according to The Associated Press.

The mood was giddy at Johnson's Olympia home. Johnson campaign aide Alex Hays said, "Experience prevailed."

For the nonpartisan post, Johnson, regarded as the court's most conservative member, faced an opponent from the opposite end of the political spectrum. Rumbaugh has been a Planned Parenthood board member and a frequent donor to Democratic causes.

Because there were only two candidates in the primary, the one who receives more than 50 percent will be the only name on the November ballot.

Johnson was endorsed by nearly all the state's newspapers, based primarily on his experience. He spent 20 years in the state Attorney General's office. On the high court, Johnson heard more than 700 cases and authored 140 opinions.

Rumbaugh has tried only two cases before the Washington Supreme Court. A coalition of labor and progressive groups poured more than $250,000 into the campaign to defeat Johnson.

Seattle Times reporter Lynn Thompson contributed to this report.

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Jim Brunner
Covers politics.

Keith Ervin
Covers the Eastside.

Andrew Garber
Covers politics and state government from Olympia.

Emily Heffter
Covers local government.

Mike Lindblom
Covers transportation.

Kyung Song
Covers politics and regional issues from Washington, D.C.

Lynn Thompson
Covers Seattle City Hall.

Bob Young
Covers King County and urban affairs.