Judicial Race Takes Shape in Stevens County – Gina Tveit v. Ronnie Rae

An interesting judicial race is taking shape in Stevens County.  Judge Gina Tveit is defending the position of District Court Judge, to which she was appointed last year by the county commissioners.  (Her campaign site is here.) Challenging the incumbent is Spokane criminal defense lawyer Ronnie Rae who bought a home in the Loon Lake area in 2006. Driving through the county, you can see Gina Tveit signs up, but I didn’t see any for Ronnie Rae yet.  Ronnie Rae has been practicing law for 6 years and is just 32 years old (I have blogged about young candidates in the past here).  The only precedent I could find in Eastern Washington for a judicial candidate so young was 33-year-old John O. Cooney, who beat Mark Laiminger to become a Spokane District Court Judge.  But Cooney had name recognition – has dad was also named John Cooney and he was a judge too.

It seems like in judicial elections the race frequently comes down to name.  In 1990 the Chief Justice Keith Callow of Washington State, a widely respected judge who drew little controversy, was thrown off the bench by voters who chose instead a 39-year-old Charles Johnson who had never been an elected judge and who did not campaign.   Political analysts concluded that voters did not know either candidate and so they picked the one with a familiar-sounding name.  Then in 1998, some knucklehead named “Jim Foley” ran for Supreme Court and boasted of having the advantage of a name voters might mistake for Tom Foley, a former congressman and speaker of the House.  Foley beat an incumbent justice in the primary, but lost to Faith Ireland.  Ireland herself changed her name to “Ireland” from Enyeart a few years prior because it would be “easier” for people.

Let’s wait and see what happens with this judicial race in Stevens County.  Tveit is pretty popular in Stevens County, it seems like Rae will have one heck of a hill to climb.

For more on other judicial races see here.

3 Responses to “Judicial Race Takes Shape in Stevens County – Gina Tveit v. Ronnie Rae”

  • Lois Anderson:

    I have had the experience of crossing paths with Ronnie Rae due to having the same clients on occasions. It would be a disaster and a injustice to Stevens county residents and any individual having to put their fate in the hands of Ronnie Rae. [Edited by Admin for length]

  • Jolene Hayes:

    DO NOT VOTE FOR RONNIE RAE!! It is my opinion that Ronnie does not hold himself to the professional or ethical standard that a person in this position should. Stevens County deserves a District Court Judge that is willing to do what it takes to get to the truth, not stretch or manipulate the truth for his own personal benefit. I will pray for the citizens of Stevens County if he is elected!

  • Steve Graham:

    Ouch, those are strong criticisms. Often times people facing another lawyer in court will dislike him or her. But what specifically can you point to as why you don’t like Rae? And I hope this is not about that dog case over there, because if you ask me, Judge Eaton went WAY overboard on that lady’s sentence.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR….
Steve Graham is a criminal defense lawyer, and he splits his time between Spokane and Seattle, Washington. Visit his website by clicking: www.grahamdefense.com
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