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Beleaguered Santa Clara County judge stops campaigning

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 3, 2014

After sinking more than $190,000 of her own money into her re-election campaign, Judge Diane Ritchie announced Thursday that she will no longer actively participate in a bruising race that has focused on her struggles to learn the job during a first term marked by gaffes.

Ritchie's name will still appear on the November ballot for her Santa Clara County Superior Court seat. But she said in a note to supporters on her campaign website that she will not spend any more of her own money in her re-election bid against prosecutor Matt Harris or answer questions from the press.

"I will not engage in this antagonistic campaign process, which I believe is damaging to our democracy and our courts," she said in her statement, adding that the campaign has been "challenging" and has taken a toll on her personal and professional life. "It is unseemly for a judge to engage in this type of politics."

However, she still hopes to win. "But I can and do ask for your support and your vote," she said.

The announcement comes as Ritchie finds herself increasingly ostracized by area lawyers, prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges, many of whom refuse to endorse her or have actively boycotted her court. A report in this newspaper early this year highlighted her rough adjustment to becoming a judge and inspired critics and re-election challengers to come forward. She also faces new criticism about her unorthodox request to Campbell city councilman and lawyer Jason Baker for help with her campaign while his client's case was still pending before her.


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