Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Paul Thissen staved off a challenge from perennial court candidate Michelle MacDonald, winning by nearly 19 percentage points of the votes tabulated by Thursday.

Thissen, a former DFL member of the state House, was on a statewide ballot for the first time since his appointment in 2018 by Gov. Mark Dayton. Thissen, 53, spent two years as House speaker and 16 years overall in that chamber.

MacDonald, 58, was making her fourth challenge to an incumbent justice amid a string of controversies over the years. Most recently, the state Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility recommended that MacDonald be placed under supervised probation for another year after having her license suspended for 60 days in 2018.

In that case, the office concluded that she engaged in professional misconduct by not competently representing a client and making false statements about a judge, among other missteps.

She was also on the ballot that year, drawing 43.7% of the vote against Justice Margaret Chutich. In 2016, MacDonald lost to Justice Natalie Hudson, drawing 40.8%. She drew 46.5% against incumbent David Lillehaug in 2014.

Staff writer Rochelle Olson contributed to this report.

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