Washington County Judicial Race Update

Press release from Wahington Co. Republican Party, May 15:

Important Local Judge Race – Questioning Incumbency, Check Out The Challenger

There is a local nonpartisan race for Washington County Circuit Court Judge that usually ends up with Republicans, like most voters, choosing the name on the ballot that says “incumbent” next to it. A startling 70%+ of Judges in Oregon are appointed to fill vacancies left by mid-term retirements and resignations, thus never facing any competitve election. Knowing that these appointments are being made entirely by the 28 years of Democratic governors should already give Republicans a reason to think before cast our votes. However, this time one of the incumbent appointees is facing a challenge that Washington County Republicans should hear about.

In Washington County’s Circuit Court District 20, incumbent Judge Keith Rogers (www.retainjudgekeithrogers.com) is being challenged by Washington County Deputy District Attorney Andy Erwin (www.AndyErwinForJudge.com). After hearing from both candidates at last Thursday’s (May 8th) Wash Co GOP Central Committee Meeting, there are several clear and important distinctions for Republicans in Washington County to know about in this race.

1) Judge Rogers doesn’t live in Washington County (the law says he need only maintain a law office here) and his main support comes from the perennially soft-on-crime Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association, a dominant force in our neighbor to the east, Multnomah County. Rogers has just such a soft-on-crime reputation in his SEVEN months on the bench since being appointed by Gov. Kulongski, that one defense lawyer openly stated his preference for to waive a jury trial in Judge Rogers’ courtroom CLICK HERE TO CHECK THIS OUT because of this. Word is that, since having an opponent file to run against him, Judge Rogers’ courtroom has suddenly gained a preference for jury trials again! I guess that’s why us voters get a say in who sits on the bench in Oregon.

2) At our May 8th meeting, in response a direct question put to both Andy Erwin and Judge Rogers, Rogers paid lipservice to mandatory minimum sentencing for violent criminals law Measure 11 as being “the law” and that it’s his job “to enforce the it,” but, in fact, he is an avid opponent of it as cited in this Hillsboro Argus article (http://www.prisontalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=68403).

3) The Washington County Democratic Party has been unreservedly promoting Judge Rogers via their email newsletter. It is not a mystery at this point as to why. Unlike the Washington County Democrats, Republicans listened to both candidates, asked questions, and were able to draw their own conclusions. In his answers, Andy Erwin clearly conveyed his priority to make sure that Washington County is a place where violent criminals will do time in jail as the law permits, not time in our neighborhoods reoffending.

4) Judge Rogers and his supporters have had to go so far to hide the aforementioned facts and distort his opponents record that even the Oregonian (READ IT => New judge challenged for seat by prosecutor) and Hillsboro Argus have felt both compelled to endorse Andy Erwin. One vivid example fo this can be found in a letter from the current and past presidents of the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association by CLICKING HERE. Notice the attack on tough on crime victim’s rights advocates “the likes of Steve Doell and Kevin Mannix.”

5) The Washington County Prosecutor’s office, nearly every major law enforcement bureau including Wash Co Sheriff Rob Gordon, Republican and several Democrat legislators, Steve Doell of Crime Victims United, and sitting Judge Charlie Bailey have strongly endorsed Andy Erwin. After learning of these facts, it’s easy to see why.

Now the Washington County Republican Central Committee hasn’t officially endorsed anyone in this race, but, as Chairman, I felt that the information about the candidates in this race would be of value for Republicans in Washington County who are trying to make up their minds as to who is the best suited candidate to wield the gavel in Washington County. As for me personally, Andy Erwin can count on my support.

Kevin Hoar
Washington County Republilcan Party