Election Roundup: Michigan Supreme Court Flips; Democrats Gain a Seat in Ohio.
November 5th, 2020
The biggest judicial election news of the night was in Michigan, where Republicans held a 4-3 majority. Both a Democratic seat and a Republican seat were up for grabs, with Democratic Chief Justice Mary McCormack vying for another term, and Republican Stephen Markman retiring, leaving an open seat. McCormack. who is very popular in the state, easily retained her seat, gaining by far the most votes of all the candidates. But the other candidate to win was Democrat Elizabeth Welch, an attorney who had the strong support of McCormack and Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D). Michigan’s Supreme Court will soon be majority Democrat.
Next door in Ohio, incumbent Sharon Kennedy (R) held off a challenge from trial court judge John O’Donnell (D), but challenger Jennifer Brunner (D), an appellate court judge, defeated incumbent Judi French (R). Th means that Democrats will pick up a seat, and the court, which was recently all Republican, will now have only a 4-3 Republican tilt.
In Colorado, which runs retention elections, 103 judges across the state were up for retention, including 41 county court judges, 58 district court judges, two Court of Appeals judges and two Supreme Court justices. All but one of them–including the Supreme Court justices–were retained. The lone judge to be rejected was a district court judge who received a negative recommendation from the citizen review board. This high rate of retention is standard; retention elections almost always result in a judge being retained.
The Texas Supreme Court remained all Republican, as it has been for the past 22 years. Texas voters increased the partisan diversity in many of the lower courts, putting more Democrats in trial courts and intermediate appellate courts in urban areas, but all four Republican Supreme Court Justices who were up for re-election won another term, by an average margin of over a million votes each.