---- — GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — Michigan Republicans hoping to maintain or expand their control of the state Supreme Court nominated an Oakland County judge Saturday to run with two incumbent justices in the fall election.
Delegates at the GOP's state convention in Grand Rapids chose Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Colleen O'Brien over appeals court Judge Jane Markey.
O'Brien will join justices Stephen Markman and Brian Zahra as the Republican-backed candidates for three seats on the court.
Political parties nominate people for the Supreme Court, but the candidates don't appear on the ballot with a party affiliation. With Republicans controlling the court by the slimmest margin, 4-3, the campaign leading to the Nov. 6 election promises to be as nasty and expensive as those in the recent past.
Democrats meeting Sunday in Lansing are expected to nominate Wayne County Circuit Judge Connie Kelley, Southfield District Judge Shelia Johnson and University of Michigan law school professor Bridget McCormack as their Supreme Court candidates. Party leaders gave their blessing to the three at a meeting in March.
Justice Marilyn Kelly, a Democrat, can't run again because of age restrictions.
Markman has been a justice since 1999. Zahra was appointed in 2011 by Gov. Rick Snyder and is running to fill the remaining two years that belonged to Maura Corrigan, who resigned to become director of the Department of Human Services.
More than $10 million was spent in the 2010 election, which switched control of the court back to Republicans. Bankers, hospitals, real estate agents, farmers, doctors and insurance companies typically give campaign cash to GOP court candidates, while unions and personal-injury lawyers support Democratic nominees.