Judge Gary Kreep admits some of his views are quite controversial.
He's stridently anti-abortion and still claims Barack Obama was born in Kenya and was not eligible to be president.
But Kreep insists he's a fair, competent and very hard-working judge, who deserves six more years on the San Diego Superior Court bench.
Kreep is the only judge facing a challenge in the November 6 election. His opponent is Matt Brower, a deputy district attorney and Judge Advocate General in the Marine Corps Reserve.
Brower has a “qualified” rating from the County Bar Association, which rated Kreep as “lacking qualifications.”
That’s the lowest of four ratings — from “exceptionally qualified” to “lacking qualifications — that the Bar Association’s Judicial Election Evaluation Committee gives candidates.
Kreep was the only one of six judicial incumbents and challengers rated as “lacking qualifications” for this election cycle, which started with the June 5 primary.
Kreep told NBC 7 News that the Bar Association Committee is biased against him because he’s a conservative Christian with a history of outspoken opposition to abortion.
“Our local County Bar Association is exceedingly liberal,” he said. “They don’t like conservatives. They don’t like Christians. They don’t believe Christians should be on the bench.”
Kreep claims that when the Bar Association’s evaluation committee first rated him as “lacking qualifications” during his successful 2012 campaign, twenty committee members “told me that all Christians are unqualified to be judges because all Christians are too biased. They said this numerous times during the meeting.”
The committee’s chairman Alvin Gomez flatly rejected Kreep’s allegations.
“We do not consider race, religion, gender or political affiliation,” Gomez said. “We do not consider those factors at all.”
Gomez said the committee gathers input from at least 20 attorneys who know the candidate and uses that feedback to score each judge.
The candidates are evaluated on 15 factors, including fairness and objectivity, integrity and honesty, judgment and common sense, and judicial temperament.
“There are 15 factors, and only 15 factors,” Gomez said. “We do not use any other information, such as race or religion, and I make sure of that. We follow the rules, and the rules are clear, that we need to be fair and impartial, and provide an objective scoring system."
Kreep’s opponent, Matt Brower, is a Catholic. He defended the integrity of the Bar Association’s rating system, which the Association says is designed to help voters make intelligent choices in judicial races.
“I think the voters of San Diego should give great weight to the disparity between the ratings” that he and Judge Kreep received, Brower said.
Kreep is also pushing back against the state Commission on Judicial Performance, which last year censured Kreep in a 67-page decision.
The Commission, which disciplines California judges, found that Kreep committed 29 acts of misconduct and improper action from 2012 to 2015.
“During his (first) campaign (in 2012) … he conducted himself in a manner that created an appearance of the lack of impartiality and demonstrated a disregard for adhering to election laws.” the Commission’s vice-chairman wrote. “After taking office, he often ran his courtroom in a manner that was undignified and suggested bias or prejudgment.”
In an interview, Kreep admitted that he made some mistakes during his first campaign and was at times “just too friendly” with attorneys who appeared before him. But he claimed the state Commission is also biased against him, and that it conspired with “certain people in the local judiciary who were out to get me, and who decided it was a good way … to cause me embarrassment and to pressure me out of running for re-election. I refused, so here I am.”
Kreep’s opponent said he decided to run against the incumbent was fueled in part by the state commission’s “severe censure” of the incumbent.
"It really hit home that we need to replace this person because we have a judge who is not reflective of the values of the people here in San Diego,” Brower said.