Two names will be on the Nov. 6 ballot for 5th District judge in Twin Falls County: Roger Harris and David Gadd. Because Twin Falls County and Blaine County are in the same judicial district, Blaine County residents will have the opportunity to vote in that race.
Gadd has been a general-practice partner at the law firm of Worst, Fitzgerald & Stover, in Twin Falls, since 2007. Prior to his partnership, he served as a law clerk in Twin Falls County. He earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy at Brigham Young University and his law degree from the University of Idaho.
Gadd said he’s running for district judge to help people and that his understanding of the law and his work as an attorney have given him the skills he needs to do the job.
“I want to use those skills to improve the judicial system in the role of a judge,” he said.
Harris is a graduate of Idaho State University and earned his law degree from the University of Idaho. He has been a magistrate judge since 2005 in Twin Falls County and has lived in the 5th District since 1983. He served as a deputy prosecuting attorney and a conflict public defender for the city of Twin Falls prior to becoming a judge.
Harris said his accumulated experiences make him the best person for the position. He said he tailored his career to pursue a position as judge by working as both a defense and a prosecuting attorney to learn the different aspects of the law.
“I knew very early on that I wanted to be a judge,” he said.
A survey of attorneys in the state conducted by the Idaho State Bar favors Harris for the seat. Respondents were asked to score only candidates they had professional or personal experience with. The candidates were rated on a scale from 1 to 4 in four categories: integrity and independence, knowledge and understanding of the law, judicial temperament and demeanor, and legal ability and experience.
From the 228 responses, Harris received overall higher scores than Gadd, with an average of 3.2, while Gadd earned an average of 2.96. Harris received a 3.37 in integrity and independence, while Gadd earned an average of 3.0. Harris earned 3.0 for knowledge and understanding of the law, and Gadd earned 2.94 in that category. In judicial temperament and demeanor, Harris earned 3.29 to Gadd’s 2.97, and 3.17 to Gadd’s 2.93 in legal ability and experience.
Typically, these seats are filled by the governor when seats open before a judge’s term expires. However, timing of the death of former District Judge Randy Stoker, who passed away in January, left the opportunity for interested candidates to file between Feb. 26 and Mar. 9 and be put on the May 15 primary election ballot.
Harris was the first person to declare his candidacy of the four candidates who ran in the primary elections in May. Of those four candidates, Gadd and Harris had the most votes, but neither garnered the required 50 percent. Harris received 46.3 percent of the total votes, while Gadd got 22.8 percent, leading them to a runoff in the general election.