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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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State Supreme Court Justice, position 5

Election Results

Candidate Votes Pct
Barbara Madsen 1,503,590 62.21%
Greg Zempel 913,179 37.79%

* Race percentages are calculated with data from the Secretary of State's Office, which omits write-in votes from its calculations when there are too few to affect the outcome. The Spokane County Auditor's Office may have slightly different percentages than are reflected here because its figures include any write-in votes.

About The Race

Chief Justice Barbara Madsen faces Greg Zempel, a county prosecutor, in her re-election bid.

Zempel said the court has become too political and criticizes a felony-murder ruling from the court that overturned hundreds of convictions. Zempel also disagrees with the court’s charter school ruling that charter schools are not eligible for funds set aside for “common schools,” which must be overseen by elected boards. Madsen said the charter school ruling reflects the progressive era when the state constitution was written.

Madsen said she’s a compassionate and honest voice with significant experience as a judge. While working for the Seattle City Attorney’s office, she developed the city’s Family Violence Project child abuse unit.

The Candidates

Barbara Madsen

Olympia, WA
Supreme Court justice

Education: Earned bachelor’s from the University of Washington and law degree from Gonzaga University.

Experience: Member of the state Supreme Court since 1992, chief justice since 2009. Seattle Municipal Court Judge from 1988-92. Also has worked as an attorney in the Seattle City Attorney’s office and Snohomish Public Defender’s Office.

Family: Married, four children

Greg Zempel

Ellensburg, WA
Kittitas County prosecutor

Education: Earned bachelor’s at University of Washington and law degree from University of Puget Sound.

Experience: Serving sixth term as Kittitas County Prosecutor. Past president of the Washington Association of County Officials.

Family: Married, four children

Complete Coverage

Incumbents returned to Washington Supreme Court

Washington state won’t have new members on its Supreme Court as three incumbents successfully fended off challenges.

Big money fuels contentious Washington Supreme Court races

Controversial decisions, independent campaign money mean this year’s state Supreme Court races aren’t tame affairs.

Washington voters have until Tuesday to fill out long, crowded ballot

Primary ballots are due Tuesday. If you are like most voters, yours still hasn’t been cast.

Washington Supreme Court strikes down 2015 Eyman initiative

Initiative 1366 is unconstitutional because it contains two unrelated subjects, Supreme Court rules.