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Kanter, Murray hold slim edge for San Diego Superior Court judge openings

An assistant U.S. attorney and a longtime litigator with stints as a county and state prosecutor were leading to fill two open judicial seats in San Diego County.

Federal prosecutor Rebecca Kanter held a slim lead over Mike Murphy, a deputy state attorney general, for San Diego County Superior Court judge Office No. 35.

For Office No. 36, former state and county prosecutor Pete Murray held a similarly narrow lead over San Diego Superior Court Commissioner Peter Singer after the first several batch of results were released.

The winner between Kanter and Murphy will replace Judge Jinsook Ohta, who was confirmed in December as a U.S. district judge.

Kanter, a Pacific Beach resident and UCLA School of Law graduate, has worked as an assistant U.S. attorney since 2006. Murphy, a Bonita resident and graduate of the University of San Diego’s School of Law, has worked as a deputy state attorney general since 1996.

Murphy had finished slightly ahead of Kanter in June’s primary election. On Tuesday night, the first batch of results showed Kanter with a large lead, but the gap began closing as more results were reported.

The winner between Murray and Singer will replace retiring Judge Joseph Brannigan.

Murray, a Poway resident and Duke University School of Law graduate, worked as a San Diego County deputy district attorney for more than 10 years before opening a private practice from 2003 to 2011. From 2011 until earlier this year he was a deputy in the California Attorney General’s Office. Singer, a Scripps Ranch resident and graduate of Western State College of Law, had a private civil practice from 1987 to 2015, when he became a San Diego Superior Court commissioner.

Murray had finished well ahead of Singer and a third candidate in June’s primary election. Murray held only a slight advantage after the first votes were reported, but his lead grew slightly with each subsequent update.

In other judicial races, all four state Supreme Court justices and all 12 justices on the Fourth District Court of Appeal were well on their way to being confirmed. The justices need more “yes” than “no” votes as part of California’s hybrid appointment and election system.

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