Elections

Morgan defeats Edmunds in N.C. Supreme Court race

Justice Bob Edmunds, right, who has been on the state’s highest court for 16 years, is a Republican from Greensboro facing a challenge from Wake County Superior Court Judge Mike Morgan, left, a Democrat from Raleigh.
Justice Bob Edmunds, right, who has been on the state’s highest court for 16 years, is a Republican from Greensboro facing a challenge from Wake County Superior Court Judge Mike Morgan, left, a Democrat from Raleigh. Raleigh

The balance of the state Supreme Court shifted to the Democratic majority Tuesday as Mike Morgan defeated incumbent Robert “Bob” Edmunds with 95 percent of precincts reporting.

 

The incumbent

Edmunds was seeking his third term on the court. Though terms on the state’s highest court are eight years, Edmunds, 67, would have to retire before completing his term. North Carolina law sets 72 as the age at which justices much retire. Edmunds, a former member of the N.C. Court of Appeals, also has been a federal and Guilford County prosecutor.

The challenger

Democrat Morgan, 60, has been a Wake County Superior Court judge since 2005. Morgan, a Raleigh resident,was a Wake County District Court judge for the 10 years prior to joining the Superior Court bench. He also was an administrative law judge and held several posts in the state Attorney General’s office.

About the office

The Supreme Court of North Carolina has seven members who are elected in non-partisan races. The court has no jury. The justices sit as a full panel, then deliberate among themselves behind closed doors before issuing rulings. The court reviews challenges of state law, especially those contended to be in conflict with the state Constitution. The justices also consider appeals from the lower state courts to determine whether error occurred at trial or in judicial interpretation of the law.

What shaped the race

With the Supreme Court split ideologically, with four Republicans and three Democrats, the race for the one open seat has been seen as key to both parties. Since Republicans gained control of both General Assembly chambers in 2011, and the governor’s office in 2013, key pieces of their political and legislative agenda have been challenged in the courts.

Results

Bob Edmunds 45.96%

Mike Morgan 54.04%

2,534 or 2,704 precincts reporting.

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