Thursday, January 31, 2002
Baxter Reports ‘Well-Qualified’ Rating in Bar Evaluation
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Floyd Baxter, who faces a challenger in his March 5 re-election effort, said yesterday that he was rated “well qualified” by the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s candidate evaluation panel.
Interviews are still under way for candidates in the other six judicial races, but many told the MetNews that they expected tentative ratings by the end of the week.
Baxter said he was informed by a committee member by telephone yesterday and was told that he would receive shortly an official written notification of his rating, the panel’s highest.
Asked if the rating would boost his campaign, the incumbent replied, “Of course it will.”
Baxter’s challenger, attorney/arbitrator and former Newhall Municipal Court interim commissioner Ross Stucker, could not be reached for comment. Baxter said he did not know whether Stucker had been interviewed and that panel members declined to tell him what tentative rating Stucker had received, if any.
Gerald Chaleff, a special assistant city attorney and the chairman of the county bar’s Judicial Elections Evaluations Committee, said ratings would be reported to all candidates by Feb. 13.
Candidates rated “not qualified” or “qualified” would then have an opportunity to appeal to the panel for a higher rating.
The committee’s ratings traditionally have played a key role in judicial campaigns in Los Angeles County, where there is little direct contact between voters and the candidates and little information on the elections in the non-law-oriented media.
The ratings may prove even more important this year in view of the elimination in 2000 of municipal court districts. Each candidate runs countywide, removing even more impetus for one-on-one contract with voters and putting a premium on endorsements and ratings—data that candidates can readily include in mailers.
Baxter said he was interviewed Jan. 16. But several candidates reached by the MetNews said their interviews by one of three lawyer subgroups took place within the last several days or were slated for this week.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company