Phil Dabney and Joanna Kishner will square off in the general election for the newly created judgeship in District 31.

Dabney has been practicing law for 23 years. Joanna Kishner has been an attorney for 21 years.

In the June primary, 1,151 votes separated Kishner and Dabney, who led the field with 45,719 votes.

Dabney, who is a partner at the Holland & Hart firm, said if elected he won’t get “black robe fever,” which he said afflicts some judges.

“People have to be careful to keep their egos in check and to have an even temperament with people in front of them, both attorneys and nonattorneys alike,” Dabney said.

Kishner said she has an array of characteristics that should appeal to voters.

“It’s all about skills, experience, integrity, hard work and a dedication to a community I was born and raised in,” she said.

Kishner is seeking public office for the first time. Dabney unsuccessfully ran for a District Court seat in 2002.

Both Kishner and Dabney touted their experience as arbitrators and pro tem judges, and said the heavy case load that bogs down the courts is a huge problem.

Kishner said she is willing to consider expanding court hours. But punctuality and preparedness are important parts of a court’s efficiency, she said, and she would bring that to the bench.

“It’s a customer service job,” Kishner said. “I want to extend customer service.”

Dabney said prioritizing is important; a judge must know which cases to hear first and which cases to set aside.

“The system breaks down when cases are in the system too long, when cases continue because there is no room on the docket to judge them,” Dabney said. “When those things happen, people lose faith in the system.”

District 31 was one of several new judgeships approved by the Legislature to ease the burdened court system.

According to the latest campaign finance reports, Dabney has raised more than $96,000. Kishner has raised more than $67,500.

Dabney has endorsements from the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, Citizens for Responsible Government and the Henderson Police Officers Association.

On her website, Kishner listed about 25 lawyers and notables such as former Clark County Sheriff Bill Young who support her for office.

Contact reporter Antonio Planas at aplanas@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638.

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