FAIRFIELD — Judges Christine Carringer and Robert Fracchia were only two people in the lobby of the county Registrar of Voters office in the minutes leading up to closing time Wednesday.
They were both waiting to see if there were any last-minute filers to run against any of five sitting judges, particularly Carringer, who are slated to be on the June primary election ballot.
Wednesday was the deadline to file candidacy papers for the judicial seats held by Carringer and Judges Paul Beeman, Ramona Garrett, Wendy Getty and Garry Ichikawa. Since nobody filed to run against the five judges – all five filed their own paperwork in recent weeks – they will each be alone on the upcoming ballot.
Carringer was widely perceived as the most vulnerable of the five judges to possibly face a challenger, largely because she has only been on the bench for six weeks. A Republican in a majority Democratic county, Carringer, 59, had spent much of her legal career in Sacramento, most recently as an insurance company lawyer, before Gov. Jerry Brown appointed her in December.
Since taking the bench, Carringer has typically heard a handful cases a day, sometimes as few as two cases – things like domestic violence restraining orders and changes in child support terms.
But the power of incumbency and the stigma of running against a sitting judge in a relatively small legal community proved potentially onerous. Only two potential opponents got the forms needed to run for a judgeship, but neither filed the forms before the deadline. Judge pro tem Terrye Davis, wife of Vallejo Mayor Osby Davis, took out the paperwork several days before Deputy District Attorney Krishna Abrams also took out papers.
With no judicial campaigns this election cycle, the local law and order community has only the offices of the district attorney and sheriff/coroner that may see contested races. The deadline for filing candidacy papers for those jobs is March 7. So far no potential opponents have obtained candidacy forms.
District Attorney Donald A. du Bain and Sheriff Thomas Ferrara have both positioned themselves financially to stave off casual opponents.
Du Bain still has more than $80,000 sitting in his campaign coffers, most of that from a $100,000 loan he made to his first campaign in 2010. He has also recently racked up a daunting list of donors and endorsers from local business and political leaders. Ferrara, appointed to the job two years ago, currently has more than $56,000 sitting in his war chest and has also gained endorsements and contributions from several of the same leaders who have aided du Bain.
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.