Bonneville County Prosecutor Bruce L. Pickett will face attorney Stevan H. Thompson in November for the District 7 judicial seat held by Judge Jon J. Shindurling, who is retiring this year.
Pickett, who captured 49 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s election, nearly won the post outright. He needed 50 percent plus one vote to avoid a runoff.
Thompson finished second with 28.6 percent of the vote.
Both Pickett and Thompson are from Idaho Falls.
A third candidate, Bonneville County Public Defender Scott J. Davis, received 22.4 percent of the vote and was eliminated from the race.
Bonneville County elections supervisor Penny Manning said a runoff is required when no candidate in a nonpartisan race with three or more candidates receives a majority of the vote. The District 7 runoff will be included on the November general election ballot.
Pickett was encouraged by his showing Tuesday.
“Forty-nine percent is great in a three-way race,” he said. “We were certainly encouraged by the number… It shows a lot of momentum and a lot of support out there.”
Pickett, 47, has practiced law for 16 years. He’s worked in the Bonneville County Prosecutor’s office since 2003, becoming prosecutor in 2011. He advocates upgrading courtroom technology, as well as specialty courts.
Thompson, 57, has practiced law in the region for 32 years. He served as a deputy prosecutor for Bonneville County from 1984 to 1989.
A founding partner of the Thompson, Smith, Woolf and Anderson law firm, he sees his years of experience in the legal profession as an advantage. Voters should not overestimate the importance of his deficit to Pickett, he said, because the race was a three-way contest.
“I’m glad I still have the opportunity to continue on until November,” Thompson said. “With more time to do that (voters) will see that I have more qualifications.”
In the two other contested District 7 judicial races, both incumbents retained their seats.
Judge Darren B. Simpson received 73.7 percent of the vote, fending off a challenge by Andre Linchenko Lawson, who pulled in 26.3 percent.
Judge Joel E. Tingey finished with 64 percent of the vote compared to the 36 percent challenger Randy Neal received.
Judges Gregory W. Moeller and Dane H. Watkins Jr. retained their seats in uncontested races.