Joel Horton

BOISE, Idaho (Legal Newsline)- Idaho Supreme Court Justice Joel Horton has won re-election to the state's highest court after narrowly defeating a state district court judge who challenged him.

Just 276 votes separated Horton from his challenger 2nd District Judge John Bradbury, the Idaho Secretary of State's office unofficial tally showed Wednesday.

"I'm pleased though I'd hoped it wouldn't be this close," Horton was quoted by The Associated Press as saying about his race with Bradbury in Tuesday's election.

"Obviously, he had a message that resonated with voters. I'm looking forward to the next six years on the Idaho Supreme Court bench and I'll continue to serve Idaho residents the best I can," he added.

Bradbury could request recount since the margin between the candidates is equal to or less than a tenth of a percent of the total votes cast.

Horton ran as a strict constructionist, arguing that state lawmakers should make laws, not judges. He also called for more educational programs for the state's judges.

Bradbury, meanwhile, considers himself a reformer. Among other things, he wanted the state Supreme Court to order lower courts to conduct night and weekend sessions, hoping to make the courts more convenient for citizens.

He also wanted to bar judges who have been appointed to run for their seat in the first election immediately after their appointment.

Horton, 48, was appointed last year by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter to fill the seat vacated by former Justice Linda Copple-Trout.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at

More News