TWIN FALLS — A local water adjudication hearing officer plans to enter the race for a vacant fifth judicial district judgeship.

Special Master Theodore “Ted” Booth will run for the seat left open by the death of Judge Randy Stoker, he announced Wednesday. He will run against Twin Falls County Magistrate Judge Roger Harris, who announced his candidacy last week.

Booth, a resident of Twin Falls County, has served as a water adjudication hearing officer since 2004, first in the Snake River Basin Adjudication and now in the Coeur d’Alene-Spokane River Basin Adjudication. He referenced his experiences as a hearing officer when asked why he is seeking a district judgeship.

“You get people of all walks of life, anywhere from the big guys — the federal government and big corporations and municipalities — down to the guy in Hagerman that has a ten-acre watermelon patch,” Booth said. “And I’ve always tried to be equal and fair and not treat anybody differently based on their status or who they are.”

If elected to a district judge seat, Booth said, he would apply those principles of fairness and equality to other areas of law — particularly as national news stories have “tarnished” the reputation of the criminal justice system.

“You hear people say occasionally the justice system is broken, the justice system has these problems, the justice system does not treat people equally,” Booth said.

Booth said he already has “very high regard” for the criminal justice system in Idaho.

“I’m not running to fix something that I say is broken. I’m running to perpetuate something that I think is working well,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean that there’s not room for improvement.”

Booth, a graduate of Idaho Falls High School, earned his B.A. in political science from the University of Utah and law degree from the University of Utah College of Law.

Prior to working in water adjudication, he worked at Arkoosh Law Offices in Gooding and as a law clerk for Judge Barry Wood, who served as a district judge for Gooding and Jerome counties.