Local News

N.C. Voters Pick Mostly Democrats To Fill Judicial Seats

Posted November 3, 2004

— Democrats captured the majority of the open seats on the courts, winning a

Supreme Court seat

and two of three openings on the

N.C. Court of Appeals

.

In one Supreme Court race, Republican Paul Newby beat seven other candidates to fill retiring Justice Robert Orr's seat. He captured 23 percent of the vote, in unofficial results with 99 percent of the precincts reporting.

James Wynn Jr. was second with 19 percent and Rachel Hunter was third with 18 percent.

In the other Supreme Court race, Democrat Sarah Parker of Charlotte won a second eight-year term on the high court, fending off a challenge by Republican John Tyson of Fayetteville. With 99 percent of the vote in, Parker had 64 percent to 36 percent for Tyson.

In one of three Court of Appeals races, Democrat Linda McGee of Hickory defeated Republican Bill Parker of Raleigh. With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, McGee had 57 percent to 43 percent for Bill Parker.

Democrat Wanda Bryant of Wake County also retained her seat on the court. With 99 percent of the votes counted, she led Republican Alice Stubbs, a District Court judge from Raleigh, by a 54-46 percent margin.

Republican Barbara Jackson, of Raleigh, defeated Democrat Alan Thornburg, of Asheville. With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, Jackson had 55 percent to 45 percent for Thornburg, the incumbent.

In April 2003, the state Supreme Court revised the Code of Judicial Conduct to allow those running for judgeships to talk about issues such as the death penalty, abortion and school prayer -- though they must stop short of stating how they'd vote on a case before them.

The change, combined with this year's nonpartisan campaigns and the option for judges to accept public financing, created a new landscape for judicial elections in North Carolina.

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