In Minnesota's only statewide contest Tuesday, Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Natalie Hudson won a full six-year term as an associate justice on the court.
Michelle MacDonald attempted to become the first challenger to unseat an incumbent justice, but was well behind, with more than 90 percent of the votes tallied.
"I have never taken this role for granted," said Hudson, reached at home Tuesday night. "It's important that the voters decide."
Hudson was appointed in 2015 to fill the seat vacated by longtime Justice Alan Page. She accepted the position a month before a cutoff date that would have delayed her first election another two years.
Hudson, 59, began her legal career as a lawyer for Legal Aid. She practiced employment law and civil litigation for a private firm, and was an administrator at Hamline University School of Law, before becoming St. Paul's city attorney in 1992. Gov. Jesse Ventura appointed Hudson to the state Court of Appeals in 2002, where she served for more than 14 years, being re-elected twice.
Former Justice Helen Meyer reviewed many of Hudson's Court of Appeals opinions. Among Hudson's colleagues, she was viewed as "extremely collegial and hardworking," Meyer said.
MacDonald, 55, ran for the Supreme Court, in 2014.
She recently drew controversy for falsely claiming she had the party's endorsement in the current race. An administrative law judge earlier this week found probable cause that MacDonald violated state campaign law.
Hudson's win acts as a harbinger that incumbent justices will likely fare well in upcoming elections, said retired Justice Paul Anderson. Five justices will be on the ballot in 2018.
"People are recognizing that the court is doing well," Anderson said. "That should be a good sign for those who have to run in two years."