JUSTICE COURTNEY GOODSON: Leading in early returns.

Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson will defeat David Sterling in the race to keep her seat with about 55 percent of the vote.

A victory for Goodson is a repudiation of two things — Sterling’s attempt to brand himself as a Republican in a nonpartisan race and the spending of $1.2 million by a Republican special interest group to beat Goodson. She only raised around $150,000 herself. Sterling is a lawyer in the Hutchinson administration who lost a race for attorney general two years ago despite dark money support.

Republican branding is a plus in races for state offices. They hold wide leads in every case, including the open race for secretary of state and land commissioner. Gov. Asa Hutchinson is leading Democrat Jared Henderson with 61 percent of the vote.