Veteran prosecutor Robert Amador secured a spot on the San Diego Superior Court bench with an easy victory in Tuesday's general election.
Amador, a San Diego County deputy district attorney for 29 years, defeated El Cajon civil/family law attorney Jim Miller with 58.92 percent of the vote, according to results released by the San Diego County Registrar of Voters.
Amador collected 372,654 votes, compared to 259,786 for Miller (41.08 percent) in the two-man runoff.
Approximately 475,000 absentee and provisional ballots remain to be counted, but Amador has maintained an 18-point lead since the first set of results was released early Tuesday evening and his lead is unlikely to change much.
"I'm on cloud 9 that the election is over and I've accomplished the goal," he said. "Now I'm looking forward to the upcoming challenges.
"I have some really good role models as judges. I want to be a judge who shows a lot of respect and dignity to everyone who appears in front of me. And regardless of the outcome, when a case is over I hope they (feel) they were treated fairly and justice was done."
In an email thanking supporters, Miller wrote, "I have no doubt that I ran for this office on the 'right' reasons and a solid foundation. If the reasons were not disseminated to the voting public or if these reasons were rejected by the public that is my burden to bear and mine alone."
Miller placed first in the primary with 37.9 percent of the vote, finishing ahead of Amador and San Diego Deputy City Attorney George Schaefer.
Amador, who finished second with 33.4 percent of the vote to force Tuesday's runoff, seemed to get the votes that went to Schaefer in the primary.
"(Schaefer) had a similar background as me," Amador said. "He was a former deputy district attorney and current deputy city attorney, and both of us had about 30 years experience (as prosecutors). We really split the (primary) vote. That was 62 percent."
Miller has been critical of the San Diego County Bar Association and its judicial candidate ratings. Miller received a “lacking qualifications” evaluation while Amador was rated as “well qualified.”
Tuesday night, Miller said when the bar promoted its judicial ratings, it amounted to an endorsement for Amador.
“I don’t think it's appropriate for the bar to spend money in a political campaign for judge when its one member against another,” Miller said. “They say they’re disseminating information, but it doesn’t pass the smell test.”