Buying Time 2016 - Wisconsin

This page features campaign advertisements from Wisconsin's 2016 state supreme court elections.

April 19, 2016

One seat was up for election on the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2016. Justice Rebecca Bradley, who was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2015 following the death of Justice N. Patrick Crooks, was challenged by Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg and Judge Joe Donald for a full 10-year term. Judge Kloppenburg previously ran in 2011 against Justice David Prosser in a close, high spending race.  All three candidates participated in a nonpartisan primary election on February 16. Justice Bradley and Judge Kloppenburg were the top vote getters and will faced off in the general election on April 5, 2016. Justice Bradley defeated Judge Kloppenburg for the 10-year term.

The Brennan Center used multiple sources for spending information, which showed the following: 

Kantar Media/CMAG: Estimated Total TV Spending: $3,207,070*

  • Estimated spending by Wisconsin Alliance for Reform: $1,861,220
  • Estimated spending by JoAnne Kloppenburg: $551,310
  • Estimated spending by Joe Donald: $179,020
  • Estimated spending by Rebecca Bradley: $226,160
  • Estimated spending by Greater Wisconsin Committee: $389,360

*Spending figures last updated on April 19, 2016

FCC Contracts: Recorded TV Contracts: $2,601,266

  • Television ad buys recorded for Wisconsin Alliance for Reform:$1,528,520
  • Television ad buys recorded for JoAnne Kloppenburg: $424,041
  • Television ad buys recorded for Joe Donald: $142,505
  • Television ad buys recorded for Rebecca Bradley: $223,350
  • Television ad buys recorded for Greater Wisconsin Committee: $282,850

*Recorded ad buys last updated April 5, 2016. 

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March 29 - Painful Words

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

Bradley says she changed her judgement on "painful words [she] wrote 24 years ago."

Sponsor: Rebecca Bradley

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $63,860


March 28 - Extreme Views

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad describes statements by Bradley, which it says are "extreme views." 

Sponsor: Greater Wisconsin Committee

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $389,360


March 25 - In Her Own Words

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad describes Bradley as "too extreme for our Supreme Court."

Sponsor: Joanne Kloppenburg

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $78,610


March 24 - Law-Abiding Citizens

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad says "tell Judge Joanne Kloppenburg we need to protect law-abiding citizens, not criminals."

Sponsor: Wisconsin Alliance for Reform

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $606,120


March 17 - Protects Our Constitution

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad describes Rebecca Bradley's endorsements and legal experience. 

Sponsor: Rebecca Bradley

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $162,300


March 15 - Principled Not Political

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad compares Kloppenburg and Bradley, describing Kloppenburg as "fair and independent" and discussing Bradley's appointments by Scott Walker.

Sponsor: JoAnne Kloppenburg

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $280,500


March 15 - Technicalities 2

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad criticizes Kloppenburg for a previous ruling in a criminal case.

Sponsor: Wisconsin Alliance for Reform

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $229,690


March 11 - Technicalities Rev

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad, criticizing Kloppenburg, says "courts should protect children, not criminals."

Sponsor: Wisconsin Alliance for Reform

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $202,020


March 8 - Technicalities

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad criticizes Kloppenburg for "letting criminals off on technicalities."

Sponsor: Wisconsin Alliance for Reform

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $221,330


February 10 -  Not In Our Courts

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

Donald says he believes that "under the law we are all the same. Politics does not apply."

Sponsor: Joe Donald

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $179,020


February 8 - 3 Judges Running 

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad criticizes Bradley and Donald while highlighting Kloppenburg's experience and principles. 

Sponsor: JoAnne Kloppenburg

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $192,200


February 2 - Fair and Impartial Judiciary

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad highlights Rebecca Bradley's qualifications and experience.

Sponsor: Wisconsin Alliance for Reform

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $602,060


News


Laurel White, Bridgit Bowden & John K. Wilson, Bradley Wins First Full Term on Wisconsin Supreme Court, Wisconsin Public Radio, April 5, 2106.

Molly Beck, Rebecca Bradley, JoAnne Kloppenburg Advance in Supreme Court Race, Wisconsin State Journal, February 17, 2016

Todd Richmond, Bradley's Footage Winds Up in an Outside Group's Ad, The Journal Times, February 2, 2016. 

Jessie Opoien, Conservative Group Plans to Spend $415K on Wisconsin Supreme Court Election Ads, The Capital Times, January 30, 2016


Methodology


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.

Data on spending on ads was also compiled from ad purchase contracts posted by the FCC and from state disclosure databases when available.