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UPDATE: Churchill wins judge race in Island County; Platt concedes

Judge Vickie Churchill of Oak Harbor was reelected Tuesday to a fourth term in a rare contested race for Island Superior Court.

She defeated Coupeville attorney Craig Platt in the nonpartisan election for Position 2. In a contested judicial race, the candidate who receives more than half the votes in the primary election wins.

Judge Alan Hancock was unopposed in Position 1 and will get another term in the post he has held since 1989.

With about 36 percent of the estimated 21,000 mail-in ballots counted, Churchill received 9,808 (about 72 percent) to Platt's 3,748 (28 percent).

Churchill, 61, has been on the bench for 12 years. It was the first time she had been opposed since her election in 1996.

"I like it," she said from her home Tuesday night. "I think the vote shows what I've been doing is really appreciated."

"I pretty much expected to get a big win," she added, "but you can never tell."

Churchill ran on her judicial record, saying she helped to make several improvements, including a juvenile detention center; separate drug courts for juveniles, adults and families; mandatory parenting classes; and mediation in family law cases.

She said that because of changes to the juvenile court system, juvenile crime in Island County is down 46 percent, compared to the statewide average of 36 percent.

"I'm just going to continue doing what I'm doing," Churchill said Tuesday night.

Platt, 51, is a longtime defense attorney who has appeared many times in Churchill's courtroom, often as a public defender. He said earlier he had thought about running for 16 years.

"I'm very disappointed," Platt said from his home Tuesday night. "Oh well, I gave it my best shot. I took the high road — that's all I can do."

Will he run again? "No," he said.

In his campaign, Platt promised to streamline the court system to make it more user-friendly, and just plain friendly. He said his experience as an attorney at court would help him close what he called a "chasm" between judges and the rest of the courthouse.

A defense attorney in Island County since 1990, he said during his campaign that that role would help him spot improvements in the system that needed to be made, such as upgrading technology, promoting community outreach and the use of volunteers, creating a teen court and adding law clerks.

Platt said earlier that his goal in the campaign was "to get the information out to the voters about positive changes that can be made to our court system."

"If the court adopts even some of my ideas," he said, "I will have succeeded in part."

Roy Jacobson can be reached at 221-5300 or rjacobson@southwhidbeyrecord.com.

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