Until I started to understand the importance of local politics, I never took local elections all that seriously. What difference does it make who wins the race for district judge? The "will of the people" will ensure that in the long run the right person will win.
But some people really are crooks and sleazes. Take this guy for example: Bellevue "lawyer" Richard Pope:
He's rated "Not Qualified" by the King County Bar Association, having been cited for "unprofessional conduct" as a lawyer in four cases.
The bad news is that he actually won the primary! I guarantee that anybody who looks at his record or the things said about him would never vote for him. So who did?
Maybe people thought he had a nicer name than the other candidates. Maybe they vaguely remember seeing one of his signs out on Island Crest Way. Maybe his name rings a bell because he's run ten times in the past, so after a while you just start thinking he's already somebody important.
Fortunately, several legitimate organizations have come together on a non-partisan basis to post objective facts about each of the candidates on http://www.votingforjudges.org. I am definitely going to look at that before the next election.