Ed McKenna just called to delight in trouncing incumbent Municipal Court judge Edsonya Charles last night. The first batch of returns from King County Elections shows McKenna, a city prosecutor, winning by a 60-point spread. Although King County has about 350,000 ballots left to release—around half of the total the ballots election workers are expecting, while the other half were posted last night—the huge lead all but ensures McKenna's seat on the bench.
McKenna spent about $25,000 of his own money, he says. "It was a big gamble on my part. I wanted to put my credentials out to the voters and I was successful." He used his money largely to buy television ads, which is uncommon for small campaigns that tend to spend their money on less expensive mail pieces.
The mail pieces in the race instead came from a PAC of DUI lawyers calling itself Citizens for Judicial Excellence, which spent $75,000 on glossy literature attacking Charles last week. Charles had run a campaign criticizing McKenna and CJE for allegedly coordinating their efforts—a violation of state campaign rules—which McKenna an the PAC firmly denied.
"I don't think I'll be cutting anybody any breaks," McKenna says. "I'm sure anything I do, especially in terms of DUIs, will be getting some scrutiny. I think everyone can be assured there will be no funky business in my court."
He chalks up victory to strong credentials and Charles running a lazy campaign. "She didn't really work," McKenna says. "She tried to let the media do what she could for her publicity. All she did was some robo-calls and one mailer."