Two experienced judges won the right to run for North Carolina’s Supreme Court on Tuesday night.
Incumbent Justice Robin Hudson got 43 percent of the vote and Superior Court Judge Eric Levinson got 37 percent to Raleigh attorney Jeanette Doran's 21 percent, according to the State Board of Elections.
Judicial races are usually sedate, but this one is getting attention because out-of-state funders spent more than half a million dollars in negative advertising against Hudson.
"Political money can be funny sometimes," said Bert Brandenburg, director of Justice At Stake, which tracks spending in judicial races.
"But it's going be unusual if this much money came early, and the effort were somehow abandoned later in the year. My guess is this is just going to be the first chapter in a pretty expensive campaign."
While judicial races are officially non-partisan, Hudson is seen as the liberal candidate and Ericson as the conservative.
Three more Supreme Court seats will be up for election in the fall.