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Jennifer Chapman will replace retiring Circuit Court Judge Ronald Stone in January


The results have been finalized, and by a margin of 183 votes Jennifer Chapman defeated Lisl Miller in the race for judge of the Yamhill County Circuit Court. Chapman narrowly outpaced Miller, 19,118 to 18,945, or 50.1 to 49.65 percent.

The race was a nail-biter to replace retiring Judge Ronald Stone. Miller called Chapman to concede nearly two weeks ago, however, after the Yamhill Valley News-Register declared Chapman the victor.

The mutual admiration between the two candidates was evident, according to Chapman.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Lisl Miller," Chapman said. "She ran a hell of a campaign and the nice thing about these races is that you can walk away without taking anything personally."

The race between Chapman and Miller was initially too close to call. But after her lead eclipsed 169 votes on Nov. 16, she received a concession call from Miller, who posted her concession on Facebook as well.

Chapman said her background as a civil attorney gives her the knowledge necessary for this position. She called it an "honor" to serve Yamhill County as a circuit court judge.

"I think the need for a civil attorney on the bench really resonated with voters," Chapman said. "A lot of this campaign has been talking about the courts and what they do, and the voters who really responded to me were of the belief that balance and diversity on the bench are important."

By diversity, Chapman means diversity of perspective when it comes to the legal system. Miller worked in Yamhill County as the deputy district attorney for more than 15 years, while Chapman's experience includes arguing cases as a lawyer before most of the circuit courts in the state, local administrative bodies, appellate courts and federal bankruptcy courts.

"I've argued cases in a lot of different arenas and I think that has a tremendous amount of value," Chapman said. "The experience I have arguing where I have, I wish I had that experience at the beginning of my career. It helps you understand how multiple legal pieces of life fit together."

Chapman expressed a reverence for the law, looking forward to her time on the bench and eager to provide a unique voice.

"The law is complicated and there are many facets to it," she said. "The circuit court is a huge, important set of pieces, but understanding how the others fit into that puzzle is important."

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