Citizens for Judicial Excellence (CJE), a PAC of DUI defense lawyers, has finally discharged its $150,000 war chest to defeat local judges they say aren't up to snuff. The biggest drop was on large, glossy mailers to Seattle voters, expected to arrive in mailboxes today, denouncing presiding Seattle Municipal Court Judge Edsonya Charles. "It's a ton" of money, says CJE spokeswoman Patricia Fulton, compared to court campaigns that typically raise around $20,000. Here's the hit on Charles for being the lowest-ranked judge in King County according to attorneys:
"With the attacks from the Charles camp, we though it was crucial that voters got accurate information about the candidate's qualifications," says Fulton, referring to official complaints with the state that backing of DUI lawyers created an ethical conflict and that CJE unlawfully coordinated efforts with Charles's opponent. Both sides have been slinging mud.
The group has also spent $75,000 on mailers and yard signs in a handful of races in King County District Courts.
The other side of the mailer promotes Charls's challenger, Ed McKenna, who has been endorsed by Citizens for Judicial Excellence (and The Stranger). You can see it after the jump.