Election roundup: Contested supreme court seats

Lanzinger

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - Ohio voters elected to keep Supreme Court Justice Judith Lanzinger, a Republican, on the state's high court for another six years. According to the Toledo Blade, Lanzinger, 64, of Toledo was on her way to defeating Democratic appellate Judge Mary Jane Trapp of Novelty for a second term, winning 1 million votes, or 56.1 percent, to Trapp's 786,336, or 43.9 percent. Ohio voters also elected its first female Supreme Court chief justice in state history on Tuesday, Justice Maureen O'Connor, the Blade reported. Current Chief Justice Eric Brown, now the court's only Democrat, may be out of a job on Jan. 1 unless Gov. Ted Strickland immediately appoints him to the vacancy on the Court created by O'Connor's promotion, the Blade reported. With about 53 percent of the unofficial vote counted, O'Connor had 67.3 percent of the vote. ---- MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Republican incumbents swept the Alabama Supreme Court in Tuesday's election. Prior to the election, the GOP had an 8-1 majority on the Supreme Court. With the three Republican wins, the party will maintain its stronghold on the Court. Republican Associate Justice Tom Parker, running as a so-called Tea Party conservative for a second term on the state's high court, defeated his Democratic opponent Mac Parsons, according to The Montgomery Advertiser. Also, Republican Civil Appeals Judge Kelli Wise defeated Democratic attorney Rhonda Chambers for the Supreme Court seat now held by Justice Patty Smith of Shelby County, who did not seek re-election, the Advertiser reported. Republican Associate Justice Mike Bolin also won a second term on the Supreme Court over Democrat Tom Edwards, a lawyer in private practice in Montgomery, the newspaper reported. ---- ATLANTA - Georgia Supreme Court Justice David Nahmias will face Lawrenceville family law attorney Tamela Adkins in a Nov. 30 runoff, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday. Nahmias, appointed to the bench last year by Gov. Sonny Perdue, did not get enough votes to win the race outright, according to the Journal-Constitution. Nahmias received 48 percent of the vote and Adkins, who did not campaign or accept contributions, received 35 percent. On Wednesday, Adkins told the Journal-Constitution she will begin an "active campaign" over the next four weeks leading to the runoff. ---- ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota voters, in early returns Tuesday, looked to give incumbents on the state Supreme Court additional terms. With 48 percent of the state's precincts reporting, Justice Alan Page had 65 percent of the vote. Challenger Tim Tingelstad garnered 34 percent, The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported. Page, a former Vikings defensive tackle who played football while attending law school full time, has served on the state's high court since 1993. This election was Tingelstad's third try at a Supreme Court seat. He also ran in 2004 and 2008. Also running to keep her seat on the Court was Helen Meyer of Edina, who was appointed in 2002. With 48 percent of precincts reporting, she was well ahead of Greg Wersal 60 to 40 percent, according to the Pioneer Press. ---- HELENA, Mont. - Helena attorney Beth Baker has defeated Livingston Judge Nels Swandal to win an eight-year term on the Montana Supreme Court, according to The Associated Press. With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Baker was leading Swandal with 52 percent of the vote, the AP reported. Baker was an assistant attorney general for both Republican and Democratic administrations before entering private practice. ---- RALEIGH, N.C. - A majority on the seven-member North Carolina Supreme Court looks to be female for the first time. According to The Associated Press, with 90 percent of the precincts reporting, Barbara Jackson of Raleigh had 51.5 percent of the vote compared to 48.5 percent for Bob Hunter of Marion in the race for an eight-year term on the Court. The two were running to replace retiring Justice Ed Brady. Hunter and Jackson are both Court of Appeals judges. ---- OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders narrowly defeated his challenger, Charlie Wiggins, on Tuesday night in a bid for a fourth term. According to Judgepedia, an online encyclopedia about America's courts and judges, Sanders won with 51.27 percent of the vote. However, the website considers the results unofficial. Sanders had a lead of 51.1 percent to Wiggins' 48.9 percent with about half the vote counted, The Associated Press reported late Tuesday night. The AP also reported that Justice Jim Johnson and Chief Justice Barbara Madsen were re-elected. The two did not have general election opponents. From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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