Buying Time 2015 - Pennsylvania

This page features campaign advertisements from Pennsylvania's 2015 state supreme court elections.

March 1, 2016

Twelve candidates competed in a partisan election for three spots on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2015. Candidates first ran in the May 19 primary. The top three vote-getters from each party advanced to the November 3 general election. Seven candidates—three from the Republican Party, three from the Democratic Party, and one independent—ran in the general election. The top three vote-getters, Kevin Dougherty (D), David Wecht (D), and Christine Donohue (D), were elected to the three open seats with 18.5%, 18.3%, and 18.2% of the vote respectively. They defeated Anne Covey (R), Judy Olson (R), Mike George (R), and Paul Panepinto (I). 

Estimated Total Spending: $12,400,720*

  • Estimated spending by David Wecht: $1,991,160
  • Estimated spending by Kevin Dougherty: $3,364,200
  • Estimated spending by Anne Lazarus: $359,200
  • Estimated spending by Anne Covey: $508,540
  • Estimated spending by John Foradora: $246,660
  • Estimated spending by Mike George: $425,270
  • Estimated spending by Judy Olson: $337,980
  • Estimated spending by Christine Donohue: $1,263,190
  • Estimated spending by Pennsylvanians for Judicial Reform: $2,902,390
  • Estimated spending by the Republican State Leadership Committee: $993,940 
  • Estimated spending by the Pennsylvania Republican Party: $8,190

*Spending figures last updated on March 1, 2016

Return to Buying Time 2015

Return to Buying Time Homepage


Advertisements


October 29 - Newspapers Back

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad describes Christine Donohue's endorsements, as well as the "highest possible rating from the Bar association."

Sponsor: Christine Donohue

Estimated Spending: $418,640


October 28 - Here They Are

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad calls George, Olson, and Covey "maybe the worst team ever to run for supreme court."

Sponsor: Pennsylvanians for Judicial Reform

Estimated Spending: $1,050,510


October 27 - Attack Ads

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

In this ad, Dougherty describes his experience and credentials to refute attack ads.

Sponsor: Kevin Dougherty

Estimated Spending: $771,930


October 27 - Tim Wynn Rev

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

Dougherty promises to expand the Veteran's Court "so that every veteran...has equal access to this system."

Sponsor: Kevin Dougherty

Estimated Spending: $335,720


October 27 - Spent My Life 15

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad describes George's career in public service and his endorsements.

Sponsor: Pennsylvania Republican Party

Estimated Spending: $8,190


October 26 - Honored 15

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

In this ad, Olson says she supported by law enforcement, small business, and is "highly recommended by the Pennsylvania Bar Association."

Sponsor: Judy Olson

Estimated Spending: $130,140


October 26 - Coming From 15

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad describes Olson's values of service and integrity.

Sponsor: Judy Olson

Estimated Spending: $93,990


October 26 - Six Candidates

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad highlights that Covey was the only candidate "not recommended by the Bar Association."

Sponsor: Pennsylvanians for Judicial Reform

Estimated Spending: $587,400


October 26 - Born and Raised 15 Rev

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

In this ad George says he is "running for the Supreme Court to restore ethics to the bench."

Sponsor: Mike George

Estimated Spending: $55,240


October 23 - Franco Harris

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

Franco Harris positively highlights Covey's role in the Penn State case.

Sponsor: Anne Covey

Estimated Spending: $315,840


October 21 - Failed to Protect

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad claims Dougherty "failed to protect a child" in a past ruling.

Sponsor: Republican State Leadership Committee

Estimated Spending: $237,300


October 21 - Experienced Judges

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad praises Covey and Olson for "keeping violent criminals behind bars."

Sponsor: Republican State Leadership Committee

Estimated Spending: $756,640


October 20 - Schelley Gould

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

Det. Gould says Wecht is a "tough on crime judge who has kept criminals off our streets."

Sponsor: David Wecht

Estimated Spending: $829,830


October 20 - Tim Wynn

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

Dougherty will "make sure Veterans Court is expanded."

Sponsor: Kevin Dougherty

Estimated Spending: $302,540


October 19 - Olson Out of Touch

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad says Olson is "completely out of touch with most Pennsylvanians."

Sponsor: Pennsylvanians for Judicial Reform

Estimated Spending: $383,310


October 19 - Covey Has A Problem Rev

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad accuses Covey of dishonesty.

Sponsor: Pennsylvanians for Judicial Reform

Estimated Spending: $16,650


October 19 - Come Under Criticism

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad states that George has "come under criticism for failing to protect women and children."

Sponsor: Pennsylvanians for Judicial Refom

Estimated Spending: $646,350


October 19 - Covey Has A Problem

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad says "Pennsylvania needs judges whose honesty is unquestioned. Not Anne Covey."

Sponsor: Pennsylvanians for Judicial Reform

Estimated Spending: $218,170


October 16 - Little Girl

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad discusses Donohue's upbringing and educational and legal background.

Sponsor: Christine Donohue

Estimated Spending: $310,420


October 15 - Stephen Zappala Sr.

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

Former Pennsylvania Chief Justice Stephen Zappala Sr. endorses Kevin Dougherty.

Sponsor: Kevin Dougherty

Estimated Spending: $376,420


October 8 - Past Seven Years

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

Donohue says "it's time to bring integrity back to the supreme court."

Sponsor: Christine Donohue

Estimated Spending: $534,130


October 7 - Dad Taught Me

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

In this ad, Wecht emphasizes fairness because "protecting families is my priority"

Sponsor: David Wecht

Estimated Spending: $144,520


October 6 - Needed A New Leader

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad describes Dougherty's accomplishments in the legal profession.

Sponsor: Kevin Dougherty

Estimated Spending: $247,740


October 6 - Parents Taught Me

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

In this ad, Wecht says "nothing is more important than honesty and integrity."

Sponsor: David Wecht

Estimated Spending: $434,640


May 11 - Spent My Life 15

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

"I've spent my life in public service," says George, in this ad. 

Sponsor: Mike George

Estimated Spending: $71,930


May 11 - Worked My Way 15

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad highlights George's education and background. 

Sponsor: Mike George

Estimated Spending: $63,860


May 11 - Born and Raised 15

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad discusses George's background as a steel mill worker and district attorney. 

Sponsor: Mike George

Estimated Spending: $79,040


May 11 - Earned the Endorsement 15

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

In this ad, Olson says she has earned the support of law enforcement. 

Sponsor: Judy Olson

Estimated Spending: $69,880


May 11 - Support of Law Enforcement 15

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

Olson says she "share[s] your values," in this ad. 

Sponsor: Judy Olson

Estimated Spending: $43,970


May 11 - Seth Williams

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

A district attorney and child welfare advocate support Dougherty, in this ad. 

Sponsor: Kevin Dougherty

Estimated Spending: $374,440


May 11 - Endorsed Republican 15

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

Mike George says he is running for the supreme court to "restore ethics to the bench."

Sponsor: Mike George

Estimated Spending: $155,200


May 10 - Raised

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad highlights Dougherty's experience and professional accomplishments. 

Sponsor: Kevin Dougherty

Estimated Spending: $460,940


May 8 - No Political Bosses Here

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

John Foradora "knows working class families," according to this ad. 

Sponsor: John Foradora

Estimated Spending: $246,660


May 8 - National Disgrace

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad calls the Pennsylvania Supreme Court a "national disgrace" and says Lazarus is the "person the other judges turn to for discipline."

Sponsor: Anne Lazarus

Estimated Spending: $359,200


May 8 - Honesty

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

David Wecht says he is pushing for the toughest judicial ethics laws in the country, in this ad. 

Sponsor: David Wecht

Estimated Spending: $152,390


May 7 - Backbone 15

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad argues Covey has the backbone needed to be on the supreme court. 

Sponsor: Anne Covey

Estimated Spending: $137,550


May 7 - Backbone

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad says Anne Covey is "the one judge we know can handle the biggest cases."

Sponsor: Anne Covey

Estimated Spending: $55,150


May 6 - These Robes

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

In this ad, Wecht says he will "restore Pennsylvania's trust in our supreme court."

Sponsor: David Wecht

Estimated Spending: $263,140


May 5 - His Black Robe

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ads says Dougherty believes his black robe is a "symbol of hope."

Sponsor: Kevin Dougherty 

Estimated Spending: $494,470


April 30 - What's Needed

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad praises Wecht's experience and integrity. 

Sponsor: David Wecht

Estimated Spending: $166,640


News


Christian Alexandersen, "We Need a Spirit of Reform": Democratic Candidates for PA Supreme Court Promote Transparency, pennlive.com, April 29, 2015. 

Melissa Daniels, Lawyers Donate Thousands of Dollars to Pennsylvania Supreme Court Race, TribLive, April 26, 2015. 

Melanie Orlins, Supreme Court Race Expected to Be a 'Game Changer', Fox 43, April 21, 2015. 

GOP Court Hopeful Gets $500,000 Contribution, Still Trails 2 Dems, Associated Press via The Herald, April 19, 2015. 


Methodology


All data on ad airings and spending on ads are calculated and prepared by Kantar Media/CMAG, which captures satellite data in the nation’s largest media markets. CMAG’s estimates do not reflect ad agency commissions or the costs of producing advertisements, nor do they reflect the cost of ad buys on local cable channels. Cost estimates are revised by Kantar Media/CMAG when it receives updated data, resulting in some fluctuations in the reported ad spending.