Skagit County District Court Judge David Svaren is leading by about 2 percentage points against sitting Skagit County Superior Court Judge Laura Riquelme for the Superior Court seat as of Tuesday night.The first count shows Svaren at 51 percent and Riquelme at 49 percent.

Svaren said he feels good after the first count, but is waiting on the final results.

“I have no expectations,” he said. “You just don’t want to gamble.”

Svaren, 61, has been a District Court judge for 17 years, and was previously the Burlington city attorney for about 20 years.

During his campaign, Svaren highlighted his experience with both civil and criminal law.

In an earlier interview with the Skagit Valley Herald, he said drug addiction and poverty are some of the largest problems in Skagit County that he wants to address if elected.

Svaren, who was endorsed by Skagit County Prosecuting Attorney Rich Weyrich, said there needs to be more funding from the state to address these issues.

The district court judge applied to the Superior Court position in March when Susan Cook retired after 20 years.

Gov. Jay Inslee appointed Riquelme to the position as Cook’s replacement.

The 41-year-old Riquelme has stated she wants to continue her position because she brings diversity to the bench. She is the only woman now on the bench and of a different generation than the county’s other Superior Court judges, she said.

Svaren said if elected, he wants all Skagit County Superior Court paperwork printed in both Spanish and English.

“It’s something I’ve been pushing for years,” he said in an earlier interview. “It’s about justice for all.”

Svaren said he wants to see more state funding for civil legal aid resources.

About 15,000 ballots remain to be counted, according to the Skagit County Auditor’s Office. The next count will be released Thursday.

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Reporter Marilyn Napier: 360-416-2149, mnapier@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter:@Marilyn_SVH, facebook.com/MarilynReports

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