Welch and McCormack victories flip the state’s Supreme Court

By: - November 4, 2020 2:19 pm

After Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack secured her seat for a second term and Elizabeth Welch, a Grand Rapids attorney, declared victory Wednesday afternoon, the state’s highest court looks to have flipped, according to unofficial election results.

Ballots are still being counted in cities across the state, but McCormack and Welch, both Democratic nominees, have flipped the seven-member court which has held a 4-3 GOP-nominated majority since 2010.

There were two seats on the ballot Tuesday. Democrats and Republicans nominated two candidates apiece, although the seats appear on the nonpartisan ballot. Justice Stephen Markman, a Republican nominee, is retiring due to age limits for judges, leaving a second seat open.

McCormack’s victory was called earlier on Wednesday with nearly 2 million votes, 32% of the votes, and Welch has nearly 1.3 million votes, 20% of the votes, with 86% of precincts reporting. 


“My reelection to the Michigan Supreme Court is a victory for the people across the state who believe, as I do, that the courtroom is a place where being right is more important than being popular or powerful,” McCormack said in a statement Wednesday morning. “I’m proud that their votes are being counted and their voices are being heard.”

Republican nominee Mary Kelly, a former St. Clair County prosecutor, trailed behind in third place with just over 1.1 million votes, 18% of the votes. Coming in fourth was Judge Brock Swartzle with 938,805 votes or 14.5%.

“I launched this campaign because I believe the Michigan Supreme Court must serve all people,” Welch said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “I am eager to join the chief justice and her colleagues in their important work of addressing challenges within our criminal justice system and their work toward ensuring everyone has equal access to our courts.”

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue is a former Michigan Advance reporter who covered education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8.