The State Bar Association of North Dakota held a survey of its members for this year's judicial elections, and responses for the candidates in North Dakota Southeast Judicial District Judgeship District 8 favored Barnes County Assistant State's Attorney Brad Cruff over 17-year incumbent Judge Richard Grosz.
District 8 includes 11 counties: Barnes, Dickey, Eddy, Foster, Griggs, LaMoure, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Stutsman and Wells. There are seven judges presiding in this district.
The members were asked to rate the qualifications of each applicant in every election in several categories using a scale of one to five, with five being Excellent, and accordingly good, average, below average, poor, or members could opt out of answering by saying "no opinion."
Both candidates were about equal in professional competence, but Grosz had an edge on legal experience. Cruff excelled in the other three categories: Judicial temperament, integrity and overall qualifications.
There were 168 respondents to the poll, with 149 to 151 answering questions about the District 8 candidates. The "overall qualifications" category was scored as a separate, overall rating for the individual, not an average of the other four categories. Those voting "no opinion" were those responding to the poll who indicated they did not and could not evaluate the candidate.
For professional competence, Cruff received 26 excellent' ratings; 33 good votes; 17 average; 2 below average; 1 poor; 72 no opinion. In the same category, Grosz received 23 excellent; 37 good; 21 average; 6 below average; and 2 poor.
On legal experience, Cruff received 25 excellent; 34 good; 16 average; 3 below average; 0 poor; 73 no opinion. Grosz received 30 excellent; 37 good; 19 average; 1 below average; 63 no opinion.
When asked about judicial temperament, out of 150 respondents the votes for Cruff were 30 excellent; 23 good; 16 average; 3 below average; 0 poor; 78 no opinion. Grosz's numbers were 15 excellent; 19 good; 20 average; 19 below average; 16 poor and 62 no opinion out of 151 respondents.
There were 151 members who rated both candidates integrity, with votes for Cruff going 39 excellent; 27 good; 10 average; 2 below average; 0 poor; 73 no opinion. Votes for Grosz, 31 excellent; 25 good; 19 average; 7 below average; 3 poor; 66 no opinion.
Out of 149 bar members who rated Cruff's overall qualifications, there were 28 excellent; 30 good; 16 average; 5 below average; 70 no opinion. There were 150 respondents who rated Grosz's overall qualifications as 18 excellent; 26 good; 27 average; 12 below average; 5 poor; 62 no opinion.