Linn County appears set to have two new judges.
Prosecutor Michael Wynhausen has a commanding lead over incumbent Judge Fay Stetz-Waters in the race for Linn County Circuit Court Judge Position 1.
Preliminary results of Tuesday's election, released shortly after 9:20 p.m., showed Wynhausen holding a 58 percent to 42 percent advantage.
In the race for Position 3, Lebanon-Sweet Home attorney Rachel Kittson-MaQatish was leading Albany attorney Teri Plagmann 54 percent to 46 percent.
Wynhausen, a Linn County deputy district attorney with 22 years as a prosecutor, had several endorsements from the law enforcement community, and that helped secure him the victory, he said.
“I have a good understanding of issues revolving around public safety. Public safety is something that is important to them, it’s important to me, and it’s important to the people of Linn County,” he added.
“I’m pleased with the results. The bottom line is I could not have done it without the support of the people here in Linn County, the endorsements we got and the help we received,” Wynhausen said.
Kittson-MaQatish said that her apparent win was bittersweet, as she has to leave the Morley Thomas Law Firm.
“I’m looking forward to working hard for Linn County,” she said.
She added that she’s consistently volunteered in the community for decades, and that gave her recognition with many voters. That, and the fact that her husband put up “a million” campaign signs.
“There’s a lot of good people I’ve been fortunate to work beside,” Kittson-MaQatish said.
Plagmann said she’d be open to considering another run for public office in the future if the timing is right, whether it’s for a judge’s seat or another position.
“It’s been a wonderful experience. I have met so many incredible people. I’ve got to know so many people, and it’s been a good experience with my family, as well,” she said.
“One of the reasons that I’m a lawyer is I believe very strongly in our legal system. There are people like me who work hard every day, representing our clients, trying to make things better one case at a time,” Plagmann added.
She also said that she and Kittson-MaQatish have handled cases against each other in court quite often, and she had no doubt the new judge will be a hard worker.
Both Wynhausen and Stetz-Waters were seeking to be elected for the first time
Stetz-Waters, a Marine veteran, did not return calls to her phone on Tuesday night.
She was appointed to the bench about a year ago. During campaigning she said she’s already demonstrated an ability to handle a wide range of cases, including criminal matters.