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TV Ad Spending Stays Low as Ohio Supreme Court Primary Nears

March 10, 2016

 TV Ad Spending Stays Low as Ohio Supreme Court Primary Nears


Fundraising Suggests Flurry of Fall Spending to Come


Contact: Laurie Kinney, lkinney@justiceatstake.org, (202) 588-9454; cell (571) 882-3615

WASHINGTON, DC, March 10, 2016 – A Republican primary race for the Ohio Supreme Court has remained quiet, with TV ad contracts booked by a single candidate totaling $87,356, according to an analysis of public FCC records by Justice at Stake and the Brennan Center for Justice. With days to go before the March 15 primary election, Judge Pat Fischer’s campaign is the only one currently airing ads.

Videos of the ads can be viewed on the Brennan Center’s “Buying Time” website. Totals are current as of 9 am CT March 10.

The Republican primary contest pits Judge Fischer and Court of Appeals Judge Colleen O’Toole against each other. Several other candidates do not face primary challengers: Court of Common Pleas Judge John O’Donnell, a Democrat, is not facing a primary challenger and will face the winner of the Fischer-O’Toole primary in the general election. Court of Appeals Judge Pat DeWine, a Republican, and Court of Appeals Judge Cynthia Rice, a Democrat, do not face primary challengers in their contest for another open seat. Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor will run unopposed.

While spending in the primary has been restrained, early candidate fundraising totals suggest a very different story for the fall: thus far, the campaigns have raised a combined total of $829,781.

“We are watching Ohio closely because we have seen a history of expensive and contentious judicial races there,” said Susan Liss, Executive Director of Justice at Stake, a nonpartisan nonprofit that advocates for fair courts and tracks judicial election spending. “While the jaw-dropping sums spent in the early 2000s have gone down in recent years, these elections can be full of surprises. Especially with more spending by outside interest groups in these elections nationwide, anything could happen."

Through March 1, the candidates’ campaigns have reported raising the following:  

O’Connor: $58,480

Fischer: $292,957

O’Toole: $22,283

O’Donnell: $61,415

DeWine: $337,521

Rice: $57,125

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