On Sept. 12, 2019, both Amanda Benjamin and Marcia Buckley filed with the Secretary of State for election to the judicial position vacated by the retirement to Judge Paulette Sanders. Both candidates also later applied for appointment to the position. In January 2020, Gov. Brown appointed Marcia Buckley to fill the vacant seat until the election to be held on Nov. 3. Both candidates' campaigns remained active after that.
Why? When the governor appoints a person to fill a vacant elective office, the appointment only lasts until the next election. It is the voters who decide which person will be elected to serve them for the next six years. In baseball jargon, a governor's appointment is like sending in a pinch hitter or a pinch runner. It's a temporary replacement because someone has to do the job in the interim. We have a free country because the people get to select their public officials at the ballot box. It's a right guaranteed to Oregonians by the Oregon Constitution.
Over the years, I had countless occasions to watch both candidates practice law in my courtroom. Now, I have also worked with both of them in their judicial roles. From those experiences, I have had a longer and better opportunity than anyone else to assess their respective talents. From all of that, it is clear that Amanda Benjamin is the one who deserves our votes in the November election. Without question, she is one of the best five attorneys I have seen in this county during my 47 years in this legal community. More importantly, she is one of the best judges I have ever encountered anywhere in Oregon. She is just that good in all aspects of being a judge. This community deserves someone of her caliber.
Thomas Branford, presiding judge
Lincoln County Circuit Court