Top court justices coast to easy wins

  • Article by: ROCHELLE OLSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 3, 2010 - 1:50 AM

Two justices faced frequent court candidates who want more open elections; one was unopposed.

Supreme Court Justices Helen Meyer and Alan Page coasted to reelection Tuesday, trouncing challengers who had cast themselves as activists for more open judicial elections.

Meyer and Page finished the evening with wide leads in their bids for six more years each on the state's highest court.

Justice Christopher Dietzen was also on the ballot but had no opponent.

Judicial elections campaigner Greg Wersal, of Belle Plaine, ran against Meyer, who was appointed by Gov. Jesse Ventura in 2002.

Tim Tingelstad, of Bemidji, ran against Page, who was elected in 1993, not appointed, after becoming a star with the Minnesota Vikings in the 1970s. Page will turn 70, the mandatory retirement age, in August 2015 -- before his term ends.

Meyer was unopposed in her first election in 2004. Page beat Tingelstad that year with 72 percent of the vote.

Meyer said before the election, "This race should be about who is qualified to do this job, not who's had a successful lawsuit."

Wersal and Tingelstad campaigned for more open elections of judicial candidates. They say the current appointment system violates the state Constitution. Both had Republican Party endorsement. Meyer and Page didn't seek endorsements.

Wersal ran once before and lost. He has since filed numerous legal challenges to rules limiting the scope of state judicial elections, and he has often won. In 2002, he succeeded in persuading the U.S. Supreme Court to allow judicial candidates to voice their views on legal and political issues. He is now working to get the word "incumbent" removed from the ballot in judicial races, saying it creates an unfair advantage.

Regardless of the election outcome, Wersal said he planned to keep fighting for open elections.

No incumbent justice has been unseated in a Minnesota election in at least 50 years.

Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747

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