Members of the Kitsap Bar Association gave lawyer Tom Weaver a vote of confidence to become the new Bremerton Municipal Court judge, preferring him as their first choice over lawyer Tracy Flood, 60 votes to 13, in a poll released on Friday.
The two are in the running to replace longtime Municipal Court Judge James Docter, who is not running for re-election.
The poll follows an online forum hosted by the bar last week where candidates were given questions in advance and no observer follow-up questions were allowed.
Flood challenged the bar association earlier this year when it announced nominations for the court, but listed Weaver first despite Flood applying before him. The brief mention in the bulletin referred to Flood as Weaver’s “current adversary”. Following Flood’s criticism, the bar issued an apology.
In addition to ranking the two candidates, lawyers were given the opportunity to vote if they felt the two were individually qualified to take on the role of judge. The municipal court hears low-level criminal cases, such as assault and impaired driving within city limits. The court also hears disputes relating to traffic and parking tickets.
Fifty-five of 79 lawyers, 70%, rated Weaver as “highly qualified.”
The highest number of votes for Flood was “I have no opinion on the qualifications of this candidate”, which garnered the votes of 42 of the 76 members of the bar, or 55%. Eight of 76 lawyers rated Flood “highly qualified”, or 11%.
The lawyers had no choice but to say that either lawyer was “unqualified”.
The Kitsap Bar Association is a local group of lawyers and is separate from the State Bar Association, which licenses and disciplines lawyers. The opinion poll does not include the votes of all lawyers in Kitsap County, only those who have paid dues to the local group.
Flood’s practice focuses on elder law, criminal law and family law. She works with community organizations, including local chapters of the NAACP and YWCA.
Weaver focuses on trial and appellate criminal law and represents those charged with the most serious offenses, including murder.