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Red Flags for High Spending, Attack Ads in NC Judicial Race

April 28, 2014

 Red Flags for High Spending, Attack Ads in NC Judicial Race

Contact: Laurie Kinney, 
lkinney@justiceatstake.org(202) 588-9454; cell (571) 882-361

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 28  - With the North Carolina primaries a little over a week away on May 6, there are signs that this year’s Supreme Court race is shaping up to be another high-spending contest with a TV ad blitz at the center of the action.  Public records show that the independent group Justice for All North Carolina is reporting $650,000 in its coffers as the result of a contribution in that amount from the Republican State Leadership Committee.  Records also show that so far, the group has spent a total of more than $540,000 placing ads in the Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte, and Greensboro. North Carolina markets, on several stations:  WTVDWRALWSOCWCNCWBTVWXII, and WCCB

The ad airing on WTVD  targets incumbent Supreme Court Justice Robin Hudson, who is facing a primary challenge.  The ad criticizes Hudson as “not tough on child molesters.”

“Interest groups that spend this much, this early, on attack ads are playing for keeps,” said Bert Brandenburg, Executive Director of Justice at Stake.  “After enjoying years of insulation from big-money campaigns, North Carolina is headed for its second straight big-spending circus, with judges pressured to raise millions from the parties who appear before them, and voters worried that justice is for sale.”

In 2012, North Carolina featured one of the most expensive Supreme Court races in the nation, with TV ad spending driven by a super PAC, the North Carolina Judicial Coalition.  That spending was documented in The New Politics of Judicial Elections report published by Justice at Stake in collaboration with the Brennan Center for Justice and the National Institute for Money in State Politics.

More information on total ad spending is expected to be available in the coming days. Justice at Stake will be monitoring developments.         

Justice at Stake is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to keep America's courts fair and impartial. Justice at Stake and its 50-plus state and national partners educate the public, and work for reforms to keep politics and special interests out of the courtroom - so judges can protect our Constitution, our rights and the rule of law. For more about Justice at Stake, go to www.justiceatstake.org or www.gavelgrab.org.


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