OAKLAND -- Alameda County voters failed to select a new judge Tuesday to fill an open seat on the court's bench as three dueling candidates shared enough votes to move the election to a runoff in November.
Final results showed that Tara Flanagan, 48, and Andrew Wiener, 53, will have their campaigns extended to the fall as they were the top two vote-getters in the race. Catherine Haley, 60, will be dropped from the ballot.
With mail-in ballots counted and 100 percent of the county's precincts reporting results, Flanagan led Wiener by more than 22,000 votes securing 49 percent of the vote to Wiener's 30.8 percent. Haley had 19.4 percent of the vote. To win outright one of the candidates needs more than 50 percent of the vote.
The campaign for judge focused on experience as the three candidates trumpeted their work as private and public attorneys as reasons why they should be selected as the county's next judge.
Flanagan, who's racked up endorsements from leading county Democrats and sitting Superior Court judges, works for herself practicing mostly family law out of her Oakland office. But, she said, her experience as a deputy district attorney in the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office and, before that, as an attorney in a Southern California civil litigation firm gives her an edge over her opponents.
Wiener, who passed the state bar exam in 1984, is the longest practicing attorney of the three candidates and has raised the most money for his campaign. He had a war chest of more than $72,000, much of it from a $50,000 loan from his father. Wiener is the only candidate with a law office in San Francisco, but he has been an Oakland resident for decades. His experience has been on the civil side of the justice system, as his work has primarily focused on employment law.
Haley, a lawyer since 1993, said her experience makes her the candidate most in tune with the problems people face every day. A former flight attendant, Haley earned a master's degree in public administration and then a law degree when she was 37 and struggling to raise two children after a divorce.