It's unusual to have much interest in judicial district races; nobody who didn't graduate from law school can even name a sitting district court judge in Minnesota.
But in the 10th judicial district, 24 people are trying to get one job. Early in the evening Christopher Penwell was leading. He's the Republican-endorsed candidate.
It's still unusual to see candidates campaigning for judgeships in Minnesota while touting his conservative credentials, as Penwell did. His Web site says he favors "the principles and transcendent truths set forth in the Declaration of Independence including but not limited to the Sanctity of Life, the Rule of Law, Equality and Justice."
At the same time, two high-profile Republican judicial candidates -- Tim Tingelstad and Greg Wersal -- got clobbered in their bids for the state Supreme Court. But the argument over whether Minnesota continues to elect judges is only going to get louder. A commission is pushing to have Minnesota adopt a system where judges are appointed.
Update 10:36 p.m. It appears that Tad Jude has now opened a huge lead. Jude probably has the best name recognition in the area since he ran for Congress in the '90s. Jude also served 16 years in the House and served on the Hennepin County Board. He adopted a more benign campaign against "judicial activism."
Your statement that a commission is pushing to have Minnesota adopt a system where judges are appointed does not completely represent the commission's plan.
For one thing, most judges are already initially appointed in Minnesota and eventually stand for election. Under the plan being pushed by the commission, judges would be appointed, but they would still have to stand for up or down elections on a regular basis.
If something similar to the commission's plan is not adopted, expect judicial elections to get very ugly and unsavory.
I think Maryland has a plan like Richard is talking about.