Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has made it her mission to bring more diversity to the state’s judicial branch. But two of her appointees were defeated in this week’s election.
In Linn County, Circuit Judge Fay Stetz-Waters was defeated by Michael Wynhausen, a longtime deputy district attorney.
In the judicial district serving Union and Wallowa counties, Judge Mona Williams was unseated by La Grande lawyer Wes Williams. The two are not related.
Brown has appointed a flurry of women and people of color to the bench. She also looked for judicial appointees who had non-traditional backgrounds.
In most cases, her appointees passed muster with voters, as is usually the case with sitting judges.
But that wasn’t so with Stetz-Waters. She is one of just three African-Americans — all appointed by Brown — to serve as a trial court judge outside of Multnomah County.
In Wynhausen, she faced an opponent who won a long list of endorsements from top local law enforcement officials — as well as from political leaders in the heavily Republican county. She did out-spend him, about $80,000 compared to about Wynhausen.
He won with about 58 percent of the vote.
Stetz-Waters served in the Marine Corps and was a 911 dispatcher before becoming a lawyer. She worked as a legal aid attorney in Linn County and in state government legal jobs.
In the northeastern corner of the state, the race between Judge Mona Williams and challenger Wes Williams was much closer. Wes Williams won by less than 6 percentage points.
Before being appointed to the judgeship, Mona Williams was the Wallowa County district attorney.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story misstated the amount of fundraising in this race.