Judicial Races to Watch in Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS, MN — Judicial races in Minnesota are often times unassuming. Most candidates for judicial seats often run unopposed and without much attention.

However, this election cycle features eight judicial races that will put incumbent judges on notice.

The first contested race will feature a familiar face. Michelle MacDonald, an attorney who ran for the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2012, first gained media recognition for her involvement in the Sandra Grazzini-Rucki case. Grazzini-Rucki was charged with deprivation of parental rights after kidnapping her children from her ex-husband, the children’s legal guardian according to the Star Tribune. MacDonald next made headlines when she was hauled out of the MNGOP State Fair booth by security after being told she was not welcomed. MacDonald lost her bid for the MN Supreme Court by 6.68% to David Lillehaug. After being shunned at the MNGOP Convention in Duluth in May, MacDonald sat down with Alpha News, only to have a verbal altercation with one female delegate.  

Natalie Hudson is an appointee of Governor Mark Dayton in 2015 after Associate Justice and Former Minnesota Vikings Player Alan Page retired. Justice Hudson received her law degree from the U of M and has an established career. Hudson  served as an assistant dean at Hamiline Law, a city attorney for St. Paul, assistant attorney general for Minnesota, and as a Judge since 2002. The Minnesota State Bar Association did a poll in July and found that nearly  94% percent of its members would vote for Justice Hudson.  

Those who live in CD 3 will have five contested races to decide on. The first is Position 9. The incumbent, Judge Pamela King was another Dayton appointee from 2015. She currently serves Olmsted County and previously worked as an assistant public defender. Judge King graduated with Magna Cum Laude from William Mitchell Law School.

Scott Springer, is the founding partner of Springer and Gumbel. Springer, who is challenging King, also serves as a city attorney according to his law firm’s website. Springer graduated from the U of M with an undergraduate degree in astrophysics and his J.D.

Judge Jeffrey M. Kritzer currently serves in Position 13. Judge Kritzer was also a Dayton appointee from 2014. Up until his appointment, Judge Kritzer worked in the private sector working for Hormel foods before becoming a partner at Baudler, Maus, Forman, Kritzer, and Wagner, LLP. Judge Krtizer graduated from Stanford University and the U of M Law School.

Craig Monier, Judge Kritzer’s challenger graduated from UW-Madison with his law degree. Not only has Monier served in the US Airforce, but he is a farmer, professor, and lawyer.

Timothy Guth is looking for a seat on the Position 16 bench. Guth graduated from Hamline Law before serving in the US Army. Guth worked in the Winona County Attorney’s office five years before working privately as a criminal defense attorney.

Guth looks to unseat Judge Carmaine Sturino. Judge Sturino is also a Dayton appointee from 2015. Judge Sturino graduated from Drake University and prior to her seat on the bench served an Assistant Winona County Attorney and Assistant Public Defender.

David McLeod looks to serve on the Position 17 seat. McLeod graduated from William Mitchell and has worked in the Olmsted County Attorney’s Office since 2001.

McLeod looks to unseat Judge Terrence Walters. Judge Walters was appointed by former Governor Jesse Ventura in 2003. Judge Walters also graduated from William Mitchell and worked in the Rochester City Attorney’s Office before turning to the private sector. He also worked as a public defender for 15 years. Judge Walters helped to establish a drug court in his his area in 2004.

Judge Kathy Wallace looks to retain her Position 21 seat. Prior to her tenure on the bench, Judge Wallace worked in the Olmstead and Mower Counties Attorney’s Office. She graduated from William Mitchell Law School.

Not much is known about her opponent William French.

Judge Carolina Lamas is running to retain her Position 37 seat in District 4. Judge Lamas was appointed by Gov. Dayton in 2014. Prior to her work on the bench, Judge Lamas was an assistant public defender for Ramsey County. She also served as lead counsel for the Neighborhood Justice Center.

Again, not much is known about her opponent Jeffery Bellville.

Position 45 is currently held by Judge Paul Scoggin. Another appointee by Governor Mark Dayton, Judge Scoggin has served since 2015 and graduated from the University of Minnesota.

Chris Ritts, Judge Scoggin’s challenger is a graduate from Hamline Law and has been in private practice for more than 20 years.

Preya Samsundar

Preya Samsundar was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities this Spring with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, with a minor in Strategic Communications. Preya has previously worked on several State Campaign Races.