OLYMPIA, Wash. Conservatives trying to oust two Washington state Supreme Court justices who voted in the minority to legalize "gay marriage" had mixed results Sept. 19, with one justice being re-elected and another justice being forced to a runoff.
In June the court voted 5-4 against legalizing "gay marriage," dealing a significant blow to homosexual activists. While conservatives celebrated the legal victory, they also set out to defeat the justices who voted in the minority.
Two of the minority voters are up for re-election this year. One of those, Tom Chambers, defeated Jeanette Burrage, 58.6 to 41.4 percent, to win re-election. But a second justice targeted by conservatives, Susan Owens, didn't top 50 percent in vote totals posted on the secretary of state's website and will face state Sen. Stephen Johnson in a November runoff. With most of the votes counted, Owens led 46 percent to Johnson's 33 percent. Three other candidates who filed to run late -- Michael Johnson (9.44 percent), Norman J. Ericson (5.89) and Richard Smith (5.67) -- finished well behind Owens and Stephen Johnson. The late filings drew charges by Republicans of dirty politics and allegations that the three additional candidates -- particularly Michael Johnson -- were trying to confuse voters and help Owens.
A third justice up for re-election, Chief Justice Gerry L. Alexander, led John Groen, 54.5 to 45.5 percent. Alexander voted with the majority in the "gay marriage" case, although Groen ran as a candidate who was more conservative on a host of issues.
Under Washington law, all candidates for the Supreme Court run in the primary. If a candidate doesn't get a majority of votes, then the top two candidates advance to a runoff in the general election.