Associate Justice Bob Edmunds edged out Suzanne Reynolds for a seat on the state Supreme Court Tuesday night, winning a race that maintains a Republican edge on the bench despite the fact that partisanship was not a factor.
With 98 percent of the precincts reporting unofficial returns, Edmunds had 51 percent of the vote, compared to nearly 49 percent for Reynolds, who is a Democrat.
The legislature removed party affiliations from the ballot for judicial candidates in 2004. There are currently four registered Republicans and three Democrats on the court, and a Reynolds win would have given Democrats a majority for the first time since 1998.
There were also five contested Court of Appeals seats on the ballot. The 15-member court hears challenges to trial court proceedings in three-judge panels, and their opinions can be appealed to the state Supreme Court.
Judge Douglas McCullough of Atlantic Beach lost to challenger Cheri Beasley, a Cumberland County District Court judge, in his bid for a second eight-year term. Beasley held 57 percent of the vote with 99 percent of precincts reporting.
Judge John Arrowood of Charlotte was seeking a full term but trailed challenger Bob Hunter of Morehead City, 54 percent to 46 percent with 99 percent of precincts reporting unofficial returns.
In other Court of Appeals races, with results based on about 99 percent of precincts reporting:
Judge Jim Wynn led attorney Jewel Ann Farlow of Gibsonville with 54 percent of the vote.
Judge Linda Stephens of Raleigh had 59 percent of the vote. She was being challenged by Dan Barrett of Advance.
State Utilities Commission member Sam Ervin IV of Morganton had 53 percent of the vote over Wake County District Court Judge Kristin Ruth.
Court of Appeals Chief Judge John Martin was running unopposed for re-election.