Running unopposed, Maltese last night won the seat being vacated by retiring Democratic Justice Philip Minardo.
Maltese got 15,903 votes, according to unofficial Board of Elections figures released early today.
"It was a hard fought race," Maltese quipped to supporters gathered at the Hilton Garden Inn, Bloomfield. "But we eeked it out."
Maltese, who first won election to the Civil Court in 1991 before being named an acting Supreme Court justice in 1996, was backed by the Republican, Democratic and Conservative parties in this year's race.