Contact:  Sandy Adkins
Communications Specialist
National Center for State Courts
757.259.1515

 

Dozens of state Supreme Court seats up for grabs in November

Williamsburg, Va. (Sept. 23, 2010) — On Nov. 2, 67 judicial elections for state Supreme Court seats will take place across 30 states. Of those elections, 10 will involve sitting chief justices.

In recent years, judicial elections have become more costly and controversial. According to a recent report from the Justice at Stake Campaign, total candidate spending increased from $83.3 million in the 1990s to $206.9 million between 2000 and 2009. To track the trend of using the Internet as a judicial-campaign tool, the National Center for State Courts has launched a YouTube channel featuring a collection of ads, speeches, debates, and news stories about state Supreme Court elections. The channel, which does not endorse any position or candidate, currently features more than 200 videos.

Judicial selection methods vary widely from state to state, but 38 states use some form of election to select or retain members of their highest courts. Nonpartisan elections take place in states where a party label does not appear on the ballot next to the name of the judicial candidate. Partisan elections, where the party label does appear on the ballot, are less common, but widely used across several Southern states. Retention elections — in which an incumbent is on the ballot, but a challenger is not — merely require voters to approve or reject the sitting judge.

The following tables, which are broken down by type of election, outline all of the upcoming elections for state Supreme Court seats.

 

Nonpartisan elections — 15 seats

State

Incumbent

Challenger(s)

Arkansas

Annabelle Clinton Imber (not running)

Tim Fox
Karen Baker

Georgia    

David Nahmias

Matt Wilson
Tammy Lynn Adkins

Kentucky

Daniel Venters    

unopposed

Minnesota

Helen Meyer

Greg Wersal

Minnesota

Christopher Dietzen

unopposed

Minnesota

Alan Page

Tim Tingelstad

Mississippi

Jess Dickinson

unopposed

Montana

William Leaphart (not running)

Nels Swandal
Beth Baker

Nevada

James Hardesty

unopposed

Nevada

Chief Justice Ron Parraguirre

unopposed

North Carolina

Edward Brady (not running)

Barbara Jackson
Robert Hunter

North Dakota

Carol Ronning Kapsner

unopposed

Washington

Chief Justice Barbara Madsen

unopposed

Washington

Richard Sanders

Charlie Wiggins
Bryan Chushcoff

Washington

James Johnson

Stan Rumbaugh

 

Partisan elections — 16 seats

State

Incumbent

Challenger(s)

Alabama

Patricia Smith (R, not running)

Kelli Wise (R)
Rhonda Chambers (D)

Alabama

Michael Bolin (R)

Tom Edwards (D)

Alabama

Tom Parker (R)

Mac Parsons (D)

Louisiana

Bernette Johnson (D)

unopposed

Michigan*

Alton Thomas Davis (D) 
Robert Young (R)

Mary Beth Kelly (R)
Denise Langford Morris (D)
Bob Roddis (L)

Ohio*

Chief Justice Eric Brown (D)

Maureen O'Connor (R)

Ohio*

Judith Ann Lanzinger (R)

Mary Jane Trapp (D)

Ohio*

Paul Pfeifer (R)

unopposed

Texas
Supreme Court

Paul Green (R)

William Moody (D)
Tom Oxford (L)

Texas
Supreme Court

Eva Guzman (R)

Blake Bailey (D)
Jack Armstrong (L)

Texas
Supreme Court

Debra Lehrmann (R)

Jim Sharp (D)
William Bryan Strange (L)

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

Lawrence Meyers (R)

unopposed

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

Cheryle Johnson (R)

unopposed

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

Michael Keasler (R)

Keith Hampton (D)

West Virginia

Thomas E. McHugh (D)

John Yoder (R)

*Elections to the Michigan and Ohio Supreme Courts are nominally nonpartisan, however,
Michigan uses a party convention system to pick its nominees and Ohio uses party primaries.
Accordingly they are classified here as partisan elections. In Michigan, there are five candidates
vying for two seats. The top two vote-getters will be elected to the court.

 

Retention elections — 37 seats

State

Candidate

Alaska

Dana Fabe

Arizona

Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch

California

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye

California

Ming Chin

California

Carlos Moreno

Colorado

Michael Bender

Colorado

Alex Martinez

Colorado

Nancy Rice

Florida

Chief Justice Charles Canady

Florida

Rickey Polston

Florida

Jorge Labarga

Florida

James Perry

Illinois

Charles Freeman

Illinois

Robert Thomas

Illinois

Thomas Kilbride

Iowa

Chief Justice Marsha Ternus

Iowa

Michael Streit

Iowa

David Baker

Kansas

Chief Justice Lawton Nuss

Kansas

Marla Luckert

Kansas

Carol Beier

Kansas

Dan Biles

Maryland

Glenn Harrell Jr.

Maryland

Joseph Murphy Jr.

Maryland

Sally Adkins

Maryland

Mary Ellen Barbera

Missouri

Zel Fischer

Montana

Michael Wheat

Nebraska

Chief Justice Mike Heavican

Nebraska

John Gerrard

Nebraska

William Connolly

Nebraska

John Wright

New Mexico

Petra Jimenez Maes

New Mexico

Chief Justice Charles Daniels

Oklahoma
Supreme Court

James Winchester

Oklahoma
Supreme Court

Rudolph Hargrave

Tennessee

Sharon Lee

 

The NCSC Backgrounder is designed to provide the media with statistics and facts related to current issues of interest.

The National Center for State Courts, headquartered in Williamsburg, Va., is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice by providing leadership and service to the state courts. Founded in 1971 by the Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger, NCSC provides education, training, technology, management, and research services to the nation's state courts.