Marion County District Attorney Paige Clarkson on Tuesday appeared to push back against a challenge from criminal defense attorney Spencer Todd, who campaigned on a message of criminal justice reform.
Partial returns showed Clarkson on course to defeat Todd. At 10 p.m., Clarkson was in the lead with 54% of the votes counted while Todd had 46%.
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Clarkson, who served one term as DA, spent his entire career in the Marion County District Attorney’s Office. The race echoed themes similar to those that shaped the race for Washington County prosecutor. Clarkson campaigned as a law and order candidate who had the backing of Marion County law enforcement, while Spencer said he would focus on treatment and prevention.
Clarkson sparked a firestorm at the end of the race with shippers disparaging criminal defense attorneys and criticizing Todd for hanging out with them and “convicting felons.” “You know a man by the company he has,” the flyer said.
She later said she was sorry if her campaign literature offended people.
Marion County and statewide defense attorneys blasted Clarkson and urged Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to withdraw his endorsement, a request Rosenblum denied.