Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 46 / 16 November 2017

SF City Attorney Herrera backs SF Superior Court judge running against 2 gay lawyers for his seat

Already facing complaints from LGBT activists and rights groups over his handling of an immigration issue, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera added more grist for his detractors to chew on today by backing a San Francisco Superior Court judge facing two gay lawyers who want his seat in the June primary.

Herrera (pictured at left) has endorsed Judge Richard Ulmer to be retained to his seat on the state court. In a release issued Thursday (March 4) announcing the endorsement, which did not quote Herrera, Ulmer thanked the city attorney for his support in the race.

“I want to thank the City Attorney for his endorsement and confidence in my ability to continue to serve as a San Francisco Superior Court Judge,” stated Ulmer.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Ulmer to his judicial seat last summer. He now must go before the voters this June to retain his seat on the bench.

He faces two openly gay attorneys, however, who say the court lacks LGBT members and hope to win outright this summer or end up in a runoff election in the fall should none of the three candidates receive 50 percent plus one of the vote in June.

Both Michael Nava and Dan Dean are considered formidable candidates in the race against Ulmer, who was a registered Republican when he was appointed and moved back to San Francisco with his family once he was sworn onto the bench.

While Dean has promised to eschew attacking his opponents in the campaign, Nava has made Ulmer’s political affiliation and residency an issue, despite the fact he lives in Daly City outside the court’s boundary. [Judicial candidates are not required to live in the court district in which they are seeking a seat on the bench.]

In his press release Ulmer (pictured at right) addressed both points. He noted that not only does he reside in San Francisco but that his daughter attends St. Ignatius High School. Ulmer also mentioned that he is a founding member of the San Francisco Road Runners.

In terms of his GOP ties, Ulmer stated that he litigated pro bono in a suit brought by the Prison Law Office and Disability Rights Advocates that was aimed at changing the “horrendous conditions” in the California Youth Authority and juvenile halls.

The release stated that Ulmer was “unafraid to sue Governor Schwarzanegger” [sic] and “spent thousands of hours fighting for the rights of the voiceless and vulnerable.”  He was named “California Lawyer Attorney of the Year” in 2006 for his work, noted the release.

In addition to Herrera, Ulmer has the backing of  48 San Francisco Superior Court judges; Don Specter, executive director of the Prison Law Office; and Supervisor Sean Elsbernd.

Ulmer’s campaign Web site at is still under construction.

— Matthew S. Bajko, March 4, 2010 @ 2:17 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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