Goodson beats Sterling in Arkansas Supreme Court runoff election

Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson (left) and David Sterling, chief counsel for the Arkansas Department of Human Services (Photos courtesy of the Arkansas Judiciary website and David Sterling for Arkansas)

Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson has been re-elected to the state's high court.

Goodson defeated David Sterling, the chief legal counsel for the Arkansas Department of Human Services, in a race marked by controversial attack ads funded by a Washington-based conservative group.

Talk Business & Politics called the race for Goodson with 80 percent of precincts reporting. On Wednesday, unofficial vote totals with 98 percent of precincts reporting were:

Goodson: 455,364 - 56 percent

Sterling: 363,567 - 44 percent

The Republican State Leadership Committee's Judicial Fairness initiative spent more than $1.2 million on ads attacking Goodson and supporting Sterling in the non-partisan race for Position 3 associate justice. Goodson said the ads were false and defamatory. A federal judge last week denied her request for an injunction halting the ads.

A state judge in May temporarily blocked another group's TV ad against Goodson through that month's judicial election.

Goodson is a graduate of the University of Arkansas School of Law. She was a state Court of Appeals judge from 2009 to 2011.

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