I was a Circuit Court Judge( similar to an Arizona Superior Court Judge) in Oregon before I retired. In Oregon when a Circuit Court judge announced his or her retirement date, the Governor had the sole authority to appoint the replacement. Unfortunately this part of the process brought too much politics and power in one person to make the appointment. Then the appointee would have to stand election so many months after the appointment at which time anyone could challenge the new appointee who had the advantage of running as the incumbant.
When people come to court they want a judge who is completely impartial and fair and will listen to what the litigants offer by way of evidence and arguments.. The public wants a judge who is efficient and hard working.
I think politics should play as small a role as possible in the appointment and election process.
I think the best process for Cochese County would be to start off with a lawyer poll to select who the lawyers would make the best judge. Lawyers as a whole generally have the same interest in having a good judge on the bench as their clients. The top three names from the poll would go to the County Commisioners to make the appointment from the list of three. That person would be appointed but would have to run in the next election as incumbant against anyone who wanted to run against him or her.
Excuse the length of this response but as you can see it is of considerable interest to me.