Lathe Gill (left) and Lawrence Killoran.
In the final election night tally, Lawrence Killoran cruised to becoming Humboldt County's next superior court judge, taking 65.97 percent of the vote to Lathe Gill's 33.64 percent, with 17,143 ballots counted in the race.
Killoran will take over the seat being vacated by retiring Judge Dale Reinholtsen at the end of the year.
"It's very flattering to have the community come together and who that kind of support," Killoran said of the results. "I'm very pleased."
Lawrence Killoran continues to steamroll his way toward the Humboldt County bench. The third election night tally, which includes a total of 13,307 ballots counted, has Killoran taking 69.46 percent of the vote to Lathe Gill's 31.11 percent. The tally includes reports from about 40 percent of Humboldt County precincts.
Lawrence Killoran continues to run away with Humboldt County’s first contested judicial race in decades. With the second election night returns, Killoran has 69.39 percent of the vote to Lathe Gill’s 30.15 percent, with 10,723 votes counted and 17 percent of precincts reporting.
In Humboldt County’s first contested judicial election in 20 years, attorney Lawrence Killoran has jumped out to a seemingly commanding early lead, taking 70.83 percent of the vote to Lathe Gill's 28.73 percent, in the race to fill the seat retiring Judge Dale Reinholtsen has held for 21 years.
The initial results — which include about 8,474 votes cast in the race — only include the vote-by-mail ballots that arrived at the county elections office prior to today and early voting.
The election is a crucial one, as judges wield tremendous power over the citizenry of Humboldt County. After all, they marry people and grant divorces, decide child custody disputes and the dispersing of estates. They authorize the seizure of personal property and protect people's rights and decide when someone's freedom should be taken away and for how long. And in the most extreme cases, they sentence people to death.
And the election will usher one of the candidates into an exclusive club as just the 34th superior court judge in Humboldt County's history, joining a crop of new judges that includes Greg Elvine-Kreis, Kelly Neel, Kaleb Cockrum and Timothy Canning, all of whom Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed to fill vacant seats in the past 12 months.
Gill, who has been a lawyer for 18 years and got a law degree from the University of San Diego, currently represents the California Teachers Association. During the campaign, Gill pointed to a dearth of mental health services and a lack of resources as the biggest challenges facing the Superior Court, noting long delays on civil calendars and the need to re-open a satellite courthouse in Garberville.
Killoran, meanwhile, has practiced law for 17 years and is a graduate of Golden Gate University School of Law. He is currently a partner at the firm Scott, Robinson and Killoran, where he practices criminal, family and civil law. On the campaign trail, he identified an unsustainable caseload and addiction issues as the largest challenges facing the Superior Court, saying that, if elected, he would look to divert people out of the criminal justice system and into treatment.
For more on both candidates, see past Journal