Most Superior Court judicial races are about as exciting as traffic school. Campaigning is considered undignified. Attacks between candidates are forbidden. There are no sparks, no debates, no surprises.
The real competition — for endorsements — is settled behind the scenes, long before voters see unfamiliar names on a ballot and pick candidates merely because they’re backed by the sheriff and district attorney.
But one matchup for this June’s primary has potential to be downright intriguing. It could be the first time in two decades a criminal defense attorney is elected to a bench that is dominated by former prosecutors.
And, making things even more unusual: The political maneuvering is well underway, with a strong potential for a curveball or two on the endorsement front.
In one corner is one of San Diego’s most prestigious and politically connected criminal defense attorneys, Tom Warwick. He is supported so far by 40 judges and, surprisingly, by retired Sheriff Bill Kolender. That’s quite unusual, since law enforcers tend to support prosecutors for judge.
In another corner is Deputy District Attorney Richard Monroy, the respected former head of the deputy district attorneys union who has held significant posts managing the gang and special operations units. He is backed so far by District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, the district attorneys union, the San Diego District Attorney Investigators Association, a peace officer association, plus 10 judges. Oh, and Kolender.