Supreme Court candidate Nathan Choi just gave us another reason to vote for his opponent, Steve Gonzalez, when he gave KIRO 7’s Essex Porter one of the most bizarre interviews of the local season. It was less of an interview and more of Essex chasing Choi down the Belltown streets surrounding KIRO's headquarters.
It turns out Choi showed up to the pre-arranged interview and demanded that the interview be broadcast live. Essex declined and tried to ask the Supreme Court nominee questions, to which Choi responded by literally running away from Essex.
This is only the latest in Choi's long list of weirdness and would not be a big deal if he weren't a few votes away from deciding the most important legal questions our state faces. Do you want a conspiracy theory-peddling attorney who has never been a judge and refuses to meet with the press deciding if our state can have an income tax? I'll answer that for you: You do not want Choi on the bench.
Gonzalez, on the other hand, is a highly experienced attorney and judge that became the first Latino Supreme Court judge back in 2011. Since joining the state's highest court he won more fans thanks to his judicial temperament and sound legal opinions.
Choi was admonished by the King County Bar Association last year during a previous judicial race for not filing the correct campaign finance disclosures, as well as advertising himself as "Judge Nathan Choi" in a Seattle Times ad despite never actually being a judge.
He also has declared in court that he does not understand Washington law, a serious problem for someone trying to decide the most contentious questions regarding our state's laws. This is what we wrote in our SECB endorsements this year:
In a divorce proceeding, he allegedly failed to pay child support, falsified records, and tried to move his children to Hawaii, where he can't practice law because of a suspended license. In a signed court declaration, Choi admits to his ignorance of the law: "I am licensed to practice law in Washington. However, I do not know the Washington rules so I only do immigration work for Korean speaking clients," he wrote.
All this should add up to a clear and easy electoral decision. Only most people don't know about Gonzalez's credentials nor do they know about Choi's strangeness. A poll released by Northwest Progressive and conducted by Public Policy Polling found that Gonzalez only had 10 percent support, meanwhile, Choi received 16 percent support. The margin of error for the poll was 3.8 percent and 74 percent of respondents said they did not know who they were supporting.
It's not clear why anyone would ever support Choi, especially if they know anything about him. Perhaps well-intentioned (but also ignorant) people looking to bring more Asian Americans into places of power in the justice system are leaning towards Choi. Or maybe, perhaps more likely in the age of a clearly racist president, Gonzalez is losing the votes of racists that do not want a Latino on the Supreme Court.
The Northwest Progressive's poll was conducted in May, before the Stranger's endorsement issue and a variety of boring newspaper editorials hit the streets in support of Gonzalez. So, perhaps, Gonzalez has been able to pull out ahead of his strange and dangerous opponent. We'll find out next week.