Judge Morgan Wins High Court Seat; Appellate Democrats LoseBy Cash Michaels, Peacemaker Contributor / November 11, 2016
A fluke on North Carolina ballots may have contributed to Wake Superior Court Judge Mike Morgan’s triumphant victory election night, when he won a seat on the North Carolina Supreme Court in stunning fashion.
Justice-elect Morgan defeated incumbent Republican Robert Edmunds decisively, 54 to 46 percent, thus shifting the power on the state’s seven-member High Court to its Democratic members 4-3.
Among the many reasons why Justice-elect Morgan won his race Tuesday is because his name was printed first on the ballot over Justice Edmunds. Because Republicans are currently in control of the Governor’s Office, they control the state and local boards of elections. Thus, they determined that in every partisan race between Democrats and Republicans, Republican candidates would be listed first.
However, because of an appellate court ruling, the race between Morgan and Edmunds was officially designated to be non-partisan, and yet, because Morgan, a Democrat, appeared first, many election night observers believe those voting Republican in judicial races assumed that they were voting for one of their own.
Add to that the fact that Democratic state appellate court candidates all lost their bids for office. Incumbent Judge Linda Stephens, Judge Margaret Eagles, former Judge Abraham Penn Jones, Wake District Court Vince Rozier, Mecklenburg District Court Judge Rickye McKoy-Mitchell all came up short, each losing to Republicans, and gaining the GOP five seats on the fifteen-member N.C. Court of Appeals.