A District Court judge is on the verge of being the first Spokane County judge rejected for re-election in nearly 25 years.
After Wednesday’s counting of ballots, Judge Randy Brandt trailed his opponent, attorney Aimee Maurer, by 1,833 votes, up from 1,704 votes after the first count on Tuesday.
If Brandt fails to find enough votes in the 43,000 ballots the county has left to count he will be the first incumbent Spokane County judge to lose a re-election bid to the bench since Judge John Nollette in 1990.
In 2006, Judge Harvey Dunham failed to win his seat in the first election after he was appointed to fill a vacancy. Brandt was appointed in 2011 but was elected to the position in 2012 when he ran unopposed.
Brandt, who has 49 percent of the vote compared to Maurer’s 51 percent, said he’s still “cautiously optimistic” that he’ll pull out a win.
“I’m surprised,” he said. “I thought that my experience would be the clear choice.”
His campaign was hampered when he decided to make changes in his campaign committee only two months before the election, Brandt said.
“It was a last-minute change and it affected the momentum,” he said.
One of the key messages of his campaign was that Maurer had no experience as a judge.
“My opponent is an attorney, but she’s never been on the bench,” he said.
Maurer said she’s encouraged by the election results so far.
“We’re positive and hopeful that the trend will continue,” she said. “I think that the voters in Spokane understand that we can do things better in District Court.”