Lawyers vs. law enforcement officers!
That appears to be the endorsement battle shaping up in the campaign for a judicial seat on the Racine County Circuit Court. (Our earlier story on judicial endorsements is here.)
The Racine County Bar Association weighed in on the election battle between Georgia Herrera and Gene Gasiorkiewicz today -- and came out firmly in favor of Gasiorkiewicz.
Asked to vote "for the individual you believe is most qualified, based upon your personal knowledge, investigation or experience," 96 Bar Association members chose Gasiorkiewicz, 21 chose Herrera and 17 said the two are equally qualified. Sixty-seven members didn't vote. The Bar Association conducts such a poll before every local judicial election.
Gasiorkiewicz told the Journal Times he was "quite gratified" by the results.
Herrera, whose campaign has touted the many endorsement she has received from law enforcement personnel -- police chiefs, prosecutors and officers -- sent out a press release downplaying the Bar Association poll, saying it "represents a small segment of the County’s lawyer community, and few of Racine County’s prosecutors are active in that group."
She added: "I am more conservative on criminal law and law enforcement issues, like sentencing... Public safety and accountability for criminal conduct are my chief concerns for the criminal court, where judge’s spend most of their time."
Gasiorkiewicz told us recently, "My life as a trial lawyer has been devoted to preserving and promoting the safety of the people of Racine County and to holding individuals (and corporations) strictly accountable for violating the law. I will bring to the bench that same devotion to enforcing the law... At the recent judicial forum I described my strong belief in the truth in sentencing law and that I would apply the judicial discretion provided in that law to prevent the early release of convicted criminals. As a former municipal judge, I demonstrated the courage to hold those who violated the law accountable."
The seat they seek will be vacated by the retiring Judge Stephen Simanek (who goes out with a bang on Wednesday with the sentencing of former mayor Gary Becker, who pleaded guilty in December to two charges resulting from an internet sex sting.) The election is April 6.