Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Margaret H. Chutich and Court of Appeals Judge Lucinda E. Jesson both appeared poised to maintain their seats after challenges from a pair of metro-area attorneys.
Late Tuesday night, Chutich was well ahead of West St. Paul attorney Michelle MacDonald, who was making her third run at the state high court amid her own persistent legal controversies.
Jesson meanwhile was on track to remain on the state Court of Appeals after fielding a challenge from St. Paul attorney Anthony L. Brown. Brown, 41, ran against Jesson after spending 18 years practicing civil and criminal law in the Twin Cities.
Gov. Mark Dayton appointed both Chutich and Jesson in 2016. Chutich, 60, is the state's first openly gay justice and served four years on the Minnesota Court of Appeals before joining the Supreme Court, and previously worked for the Minnesota Attorney General's Office and as a federal prosecutor before being appointed by Dayton.
Jesson, 60, has been on Dayton's shortlist for the Supreme Court and led the Department of Human Services through the expansion of community-based mental health treatment and amid a historic federal court challenge to the state's sex offender treatment program. Jesson became the first state Appeals Court judge since 2010 to face a challenge for her seat on the ballot.
MacDonald, 56, has made abolishing the family court system a centerpiece of her previous campaigns. She had her law license suspended for 60 days earlier this year in connection with professional misconduct allegations that dated to 2013, including repeatedly interrupting a Dakota County judge in open court and other disruptive behavior that led to her arrest while representing a client in a child custody trial.
Also Tuesday, campaigns for Chutich and Jesson reported that their campaign websites both came under attack by high levels of bot traffic that disrupted each site. The campaigns reported the activity to the Secretary of State's Office. Jesson's campaign reported that initial data suggested the bot traffic came from China.