Challenger Gloria Ochoa-Bruck was outpacing incumbent Municipal Court Judge Matthew Antush after early election returns Tuesday evening.
Ochoa-Bruck was leading Antush with 51.6% of the ballots received as of Tuesday.
“I am feeling very proud of the positive, community-centered campaign that we ran,” Ochoa-Bruck said after the initial results came in. “I feel like the initial results are promising.”
In a contest that saw billboards and yard signs throughout town, Antush, 55, was seeking to keep the seat he was appointed to by Mayor David Condon in 2018. Ochoa-Bruck served as Condon’s director of local government and multicultural affairs at City Hall.
Antush said he was “cautiously optimistic” after Tuesday’s returns.
“It’s just wait-and-see,” Antush said Tuesday night. “I’ve always been a confident person.”
Both candidates touted their differing experience as a reason for supporting their campaign. Ochoa-Bruck has served as a tribal judge and taught at Gonzaga Law School. Antush, before taking the bench, had served more than two decades combined in the city and county public defenders’ offices.
Ochoa-Bruck raised more than $41,000 in cash to support her run for the seat, with major supporters including the Kalispel Tribe of Indians as well as individual contributions from Don Barbieri and Sharon Smith, who run a progressive charitable fund in town.
Antush, who raised nearly $36,000 in cash, had earned the endorsement of several fellow judges and attorneys at the Spokane County Courthouse.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.