Clear frontrunners emerged Tuesday in two races for Pierce County Superior Court, leaving the remaining candidates to fight close battles for a second spot on the general election ballot.
For the court’s position 8, Grant Blinn of University Place was the top vote-getter in Tuesday’s primary election to replace Brian Tollefson, who is leaving the bench after 27 years. Dwayne Christopher led fellow Tacoman Jack Hill in early results.
Blinn is the judge for the combined municipal court that covers Lakewood, University Place, Steilacoom and DuPont and a former 17-year Pierce County deputy prosecutor.
Christopher, a Wilson High School alumnus, is a Tacoma lawyer who served as Tollefson’s judicial assistant from 1998-2007 and was endorsed by Tollefson. Hill was head of Pierce County’s Department of Assigned Counsel for 26 years and has served as a pro tempore judge in county and municipal courts.
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For position 17, Karena Kirkendoll of Tacoma advanced to the general election to fill the judgeship held by the retiring Ronald Culpepper, who is retiring after 19 years. Tom Quinlan from the Key Peninsula narrowly led David Ladenburg of Tacoma in early results.
Kirkendoll is a Pierce County Superior Court commissioner who was an industrial appeals judge and administrative law judge in Washington who is a former president of the local bar association.
Quinlan is a civil trial attorney who has served as a pro tem commissioner for the Superior Court and a pro tem judge for municipal courts. He was also a judge advocate in the Army Reserve for 18 years.
Ladenburg, a Stadium High School alumnus, is a Tacoma Municipal Court judge who passed the bar exam after an apprenticeship program rather than law school.