Four candidates recently announced their intent to run for judicial office in El Dorado County.
Although the judicial election for El Dorado County Court System is not until the June 3 primary, the race for Superior Court judge positions has already unofficially begun.
Five judicial positions are up during the primary election. Filing for declaration of candidacy begins Dec. 27 and ends Feb. 5.
The candidates who have made public announcements are Vicki Ashworth, David Combellack, Joseph Hoffman and Dylan Sullivan.
Ashworth is a 16-year veteran attorney, and she said she has worked with the El Dorado County Arson Task Force and various county law enforcement agencies.
“Having spent the last 16 years in the courtroom, I feel uniquely poised to be familiar with the court proceedings and to know what’s expected from the bench,” Ashworth said. “I understand the qualities that are needed for a judge, to serve my community with dedication and fairness.”
Ashworth has spent 14 years practicing in El Dorado County, and she said it would be a “natural progression” for her to run for a judicial position.
“In seeking election, I know I can be an asset to the county because I can remain fair and impartial while also displaying my strength of character,” she said.
David Combellack has practiced law in El Dorado County for more than three decades, including serving as the county’s Bar Association president in 1978, according to his law firm’s profile.
“I have been in this community virtually all my life and professional career,” Combellack said. “I’ve been involved in a lot of community service, and I now feel that I can serve the community by becoming a judge.”
Combellack said he has obtained the knowledge and understanding to perform as an apt superior court judge.
“In my opinion, experience is the most obvious both in terms of years and breadth and maturity,” he said. “I think that with my personality, I have a judicial temperament at this point.”
Hoffman has 19 years of attorney experience and has been the judge pro-tem with El Dorado Superior Court since 2001, he said.
“My very first office was in Folsom, so I’ve always practiced in Sacramento and El Dorado County,” Hoffman said.
Hoffman said he ran in the last judicial election but did not get elected. He said he feels even more compelled to run for office this time.
“I think a practicing attorney and a business owner come from different perspectives; I’ve run a business for 19 years, making payroll and it gets me to a different perspective as well as a practicing attorney in the county for so long,” Hoffman said, adding there are some things in the county’s system he would like to change. “I could complain or step up and do something about them.”
Sullivan has served as an El Dorado County Court commissioner, working specifically with Department 12, which is in charge of family law, probation and juvenile dependency cases.
“I’ve done a lot of work in South Lake Tahoe, working in collaboration with nonprofits through dependency and criminal and delinquency court,” Sullivan said. “With the (El Dorado County) Department of Health and Human Services, Live Violence Free, when people see service providers, it reduces victimization. Through those projects, I would be more effective as a superior court judge.”
Sullivan also said she has made “difficult decisions” as a court commissioner.
“They have to be made, and I think my background makes me well-situated to make those types of decisions,” she said.