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Republicans have claimed key victories in state Supreme Court races that will give them an advantage in major redistricting fights, while Democrats notched similarly significant wins with help from groups focused on defending abortion access.

The expensive fights over court control in several states in Tuesday’s election highlight just how partisan the formerly low-key judicial races have become. Observers say they’re a sign of what to expect as legal battles over abortion, voting rights and other issues are being fought at the state level.

“Nothing about this election suggests to me that we’re going to see these races quiet down anytime soon,” said Douglas Keith, counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s law school, which tracks spending in judicial races.

About $97 million was spent on state Supreme Court elections during the 2019-2020 election cycle, according to the Brennan Center. Once this year’s numbers are tallied, spending records are expected to be shattered in some of the 25 states that had races targeted by groups on the right and the left.

One of the biggest players was the Republican State Leadership Committee, which focused heavily on the court races in North Carolina and Ohio.

“Republican wins in the Tarheel State and Buckeye State ensure that the redistricting fights ahead in those states within the next decade are ruled on by strong conservatives who will follow the Constitution and don’t believe it’s their role to draw maps from the bench,” said Dee Duncan, president of the committee’s Judicial Fairness Initiative.

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