SAN DIEGO -- Four Christian lawyers who vowed to be God's ambassadors on the bench have lost their bids to oust four San Diego Superior Court judges.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting early Wednesday, incumbent judges Lantz Lewis, Joel Wohlfeil, Robert Longstreth and DeAnn Salcido handily beat the conservative attorneys.
Craig Candelore, Larry "Jake" Kincaid, Bill Trask and Harold J. Coleman Jr. garnered no more than 35 to 40 percent of each race's vote. The conservative candidates were backed by Better Courts Now, a group founded by late pastor Don Hammer. According to The Los Angeles Times, Hammer "took a particularly active role in the campaign for Proposition 8" and he "produced a series of videos purporting to prove that Barack Obama was a secret Muslim."
In addition to BCN's backing, the candidates were supported by several evangelical pastors, a gun shop, gun enthusiasts, and opponents of abortion and same-sex marriages.
Critics said the campaign aimed to pack courts with judges who adhere to a religious agenda, threatening both the impartiality of the court system and the separation of church and state.
In a campaign video posted to Vimeo, challenger Craig Candelore says "many of our courts don't reflect our values anymore."
The LA Times' Tim Rutten explains why Candelore's claim doesn't hold up:
San Diego's actual demographics give its "values" campaign more than a whiff of the putsch: Just 14% of the county's residents are evangelical Christians, on behalf of whose values the slate claims to speak, while 67.5% are Roman Catholics and 8% belong to mainline Protestant churches.