North Carolina judicial elections, 2012
The North Carolina judicial elections consisted of a primary on May 8th and general election on November 6th. 
North Carolina judicial elections summary, 2012
Seats up for election
The judges in the tables below have seats that are up for election in 2012.
Supreme CourtTo organize the columns, click on the arrows in the column heading.
|Candidate||Incumbency||Office||Primary Vote||Election Vote|
|Paul Martin Newby||Yes||51.90%|
Court of AppealsTo organize the columns, click on the arrows in the column heading.
|Candidate||Incumbency||Office||Primary Vote||Election Vote|
|David S. Robinson||No||McGee Seat||38.8%|
|Martin B. McGee||No||Bryant Seat||43.5%|
- For Superior Court judicial elections, please visit: North Carolina judicial elections, 2012 - Superior Court
- For District Court judicial elections, please visit: North Carolina judicial elections, 2012 - District Court
The North Carolina Appellate Court Term and Vacancy Amendment (2012) was a proposed legislatively-referred constitutional amendment which did not make the ballot. The measure sought to allow Appellate judges to serve until a second general election after appointment; vacancies on appellate courts would be filled by the governor.
The North Carolina Appointment of Magistrates Amendment (2012) was a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment which did not make the ballot. The measure sought to allow for magistrates to be appointed by the chief District Court judge.
The North Carolina Judicial Appointment Amendment (2012) was a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment which did not make the ballot. The measure sought to replace the present method of selecting Justices and Judges of the Appellate Division and Judges of the Superior Court by gubernatorial appointment.
The North Carolina Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Appointment Amendment (2012) was a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment which did not make the ballot. The measure sought to reform the process of selecting Justices of the Supreme Court and Judges of the Court of Appeals.
In the News
North Carolina election recap, 2012
North Carolina: The highlight of this year's North Carolina judicial elections was the hotly-contested Supreme Court race between incumbent Paul Martin Newby and Sam Ervin. Justice Newby was victorious. Though the race was technically nonpartisan, it was clear that Newby was the Republican candidate while Ervin campaigned with Democratic support. With Newby's re-election, Republicans held majority control of the court 4-3. This may prove to be especially important as a number of bills passed by the Republican-controlled legislature may find their way to the Supreme Court.
In the Court of Appeals races, incumbent Judge Cressie Thigpen lost to Raleigh-based lawyer Chris Dillon. higpen has served on the court since 2010 and has been appointed twice. He was hoping to win a full term this year. Dillon was backed by Republicans.
On the trial court level, there were also some upsets, with 10 incumbents defeated: Superior Court judges Alexander Mendaloff and Abraham P. Jones and District Court judges Kirby Smith, Thomas Taylor, Cheryl Spencer, Lonnie Carraway, John Totten, Charles Bullock, Polly Sizemore, Erin Graber. However, the majority of Superior and District Court incumbents (149, to be exact) won re-election and most of them were unopposed.
Dillon defeats incumbent for Court of Appeals seat
As featured in JP Election Brief: Highlights of the 2012 judicial elections on November 15, 2012
Voters shook up the North Carolina Court of Appeals this year by electing Chris Dillon over incumbent Judge Cressie Thigpen. With approximately 53% of the vote, the Raleigh-based lawyer won an eight year term on November 6, 2012.
This wasn't Dillon's first attempt at an appellate judgeship. He ran for a position on the same court in 2010, but was unsuccessful. This year, as a former executive for a community bank, he argued that he would bring a small-business perspective to the court.
Thigpen has served on the court since 2010 and has been appointed twice. He was hoping to win a full term this year.
Though North Carolina races are technically nonpartisan, Dillon's victory is considered a Republican win. Thigpen and his fellow incumbents Linda McGee and Wanda Bryant are all known Democrats while Dillon and the other challengers were supported by Republicans.
North Carolina Supreme Court race
As featured in JP Election Brief: The Supreme Court Special on October 18, 2012.
This year's North Carolina Supreme Court election could shift the balance of the court. Though the state's judicial races are technically nonpartisan, the political parties have each made their positions clear. The Republican-backed incumbent, Justice Paul Martin Newby, is challenged by Democrat-endorsed Sam Ervin. Currently, the political balance favors conservatives 4-3. A number of laws passed by Republicans in the General Assembly are currently being challenged in lawsuits that could find their way to the high court--raising the stakes of this election even higher.
|“|| For the last eight years it has been my privilege to serve our State as a Justice on the Supreme Court. I have strived to fairly, impartially, and consistently apply the law in every case. I have a reputation of being a hard-working, honest, thoughtful Justice earning widespread bipartisan support, including endorsements from four former Chief Justices, two of each party, as well as from law enforcement, legal, and business groups.
-Paul Martin Newby
North Carolina candidates speak at forum
Raleigh, North Carolina: On September 26, the eight candidates seeking election to the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals this year gathered to discuss their qualifications. The forum was hosted by the Triangle Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society and was located in downtown Raleigh.
The candidates in attendance were:
- Supreme Court: Paul Martin Newby and Sam Ervin
- Court of Appeals: Cressie Thigpen, Chris Dillon, Martin B. McGee, Wanda Bryant, David S. Robinson and Linda McGee.
The candidates stressed how they possessed the ideal judicial quality of fairness. They all declined to comment on controversial issues.
Newby and Ervin did seem to butt heads on one issue: campaign spending. Newby has been financially backed by Civitas Action and a super PAC called the North Carolina Judicial Coalition. Ervin shed doubt on his opponents contributions, saying,
|“||I raise the question as to what impact such expenditures have on the public perception of the impartiality of the judiciary.||”|
|“||I certainly am a proponent of free speech, particularly political free speech...I don't know anything about these PACs except of what I read in the paper. I'm hoping that whoever they may be will simply help folks just know who we are because again, this race is about qualifications.||”|
- North Carolina Center for Voter Education: 2012 North Carolina Voter Guide
- WFAE 90.7, "Judicial Elections Put Voters - And Judges - In A Bind ," April 13, 2012
- hickoryrecord.com, "Sam Ervin files for NC SC," February 22, 12
- yourdailyjournal.com, "Candidates continue to file for election," February 16, 12
- luminanews.com, "Primary election filing begins," February 15, 2012
- Reflector.com, "Retirement opens judicial seat," February 7, 2012
- TheTimesNews.com, "Judges refuse to delay N.C. primary," January 20, 2012
- BlueRidgeNow.com, "Judges refuse to delay NC primary amid lawsuits," January 20, 2012
- North Carolina State Board of Elections, Elected Judges and Term Expiration Dates
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Carolina Journal,"Here Come The Amendments," September 2, 2011
- ↑ Charlotte Observer, "NC Court of Appeals: McGee, Bryant stay on; Dillon ousts Thigpen", November 7, 2012
- ↑ Information submitted to Judgepedia by Justice Newby's campaign via email on 10/7/2012
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 NECN, "NC state judicial candidates gather for forum", September 26, 2012