George Appel won his bid Tuesday to become a Superior Court judge in Snohomish County, besting his opponent with 56 percent of the votes in early returns. Lawyer Joe Wilson carried 43 percent of early votes.
Appel said those results were strong enough for him to claim victory.
“I’m pleased with the results, of course, and am looking forward to my next job,” he said from Lombardi’s Neighborhood Italian Restaurant in Everett, where he gathered with his supporters to celebrate.
Wilson, said Tuesday evening that he hadn’t yet formally conceded the race to Appel, but that he planned to.
“At this point I think it’s clear that George has won the race,” he said.
Appel said Wilson and his campaign ran a “very vigorous” race and should be congratulated.
The judicial face off between Appel and Wilson was one of the most hotly contested local races of the election. The pair squared off to succeed Judge Richard Thorpe, who plans to retire at the end of the years.
Appel said his years of trial work set him apart. Wilson argued that work he has done, inside and outside the courtroom, gave him the advantage.
Appel, 43, of Marysville, was hired in 1994 to the Snohomish County prosecutor’s office, where he is a senior deputy prosecutor. He topped Wilson in the primary election and in the Snohomish County Bar Association poll. His endorsements included the Snohomish County Deputy Sheriff’s Association and backing by state Attorney General Rob McKenna and County Prosecutor Janice Ellis.
Wilson, 47, of Everett, opened his own law practice in 1995. He grew up in Everett and his father was a Superior Court judge here. Wilson’s practice is varied, including family law, criminal defense, real estate and probate work. He said his work in the community that set him apart, including volunteering with Snohomish County Legal Service and serving on the board of the Center for Battered Women.
Wilson was endorsed by the majority of the current Superior Court bench. He also was endorsed by Sheriff John Lovick and Snohomish County Democrats.
Krista Kapralos is a reporter with the Herald in Everett.