Republicans seeking two seats on the Michigan Supreme Court led the field of five candidates Tuesday in a race that could shift control to conservatives.
Wayne County Judge Mary Beth Kelly and Justice Robert Young Jr. had large leads over two Democrats, Justice Alton Davis and Oakland County Judge Denise Langford Morris, with 65 percent of precincts reporting.
"They threw everything at us but I am still standing," Young said, referring to a barrage of negative ads by the state Democratic Party.
Victories by Kelly and Young would give the GOP a 4-3 edge on the court.
Davis was appointed to the court in August by Gov. Jennifer Granholm after the resignation of Justice Elizabeth Weaver. His promotion gave Democrats a 4-3 edge, although they already had a working majority with Weaver joining them in many cases.
Backed by business groups, Young and Kelly promoted themselves as conservatives who wouldn't second-guess the Legislature and make their own law. Davis and Morris, the favorites of unions and trial lawyers, promised to cool the rancor between warring justices.
Since the defeat of then-Chief Justice Cliff Taylor in 2008, the court has reversed some key decisions of its former conservative majority, especially in auto-injury law.
Young and Kelly suggested they wouldn't be eager to revisit the cases if Republicans again have control of the court.
"You have to think about how much flipping around is good for society. ... There is something about wanting to have some stability out there," Young told The Associated Press in September.
Libertarian Bob Roddis was also on the ballot.