New Data Shows Judicial Election Ad Spending Breaks Record at $29.7 Million

December 17, 2012

New Data Shows Judicial Election Ad Spending Breaks Record at $29.7 Million
One Outside Group Spent $429,000 in Louisiana Election

Contact: Seth Hoy, Brennan Center for Justice,, (646) 292-8369,
Eeva Moore, Justice at Stake,, (202) 588-9462

New York - TV ad spending in state Supreme Court elections reached a record breaking $29.7 million on more than 51,000 ads this year, surpassing the previous record of $24.4 million spent in 2004, according to new data provided by TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG and released by the Brennan Center for Justice and Justice at Stake.Ten states saw races where TV ad spending exceeded $1 million (Ala., Fla., Ill., La., Mich., Miss., N.C., Ohio, Texas, W.Va.).

December 8th marked the end of the 2012 judicial election season with a run-off election in Louisiana to replace retiring state Supreme Court Justice Kitty Kimball. In the last two weeks of campaigning, more than $113,000 was spent with almost a quarter of that money coming from one outside group, the Clean Water and Land PAC. The group ran attack ads against candidate John Guidry claiming he was hiding a liberal record while supporting another candidate, Jeff Hughes, as a rock solid conservative. Guidry lost in a close race, 47 percent to 52 percent. In total, 2,838 ads ran and $1,925,500 was spent in Louisiana, with a quarter of the money spent coming from just two outside groups, Clean Water and Land PAC and The American Future Fund. The Clean Water and Land PAC alone spent $429,000, more than any individual candidate.

National TV spending data for judicial races, as well as links to ads, are available at Judicial Elections 2012, a web page jointly hosted by the Brennan Center for Justice and Justice at Stake. For additional analysis also visit the Brennan Center’s Buying Time 2012 web page.

TV Methodology

All data on ad airings and spending on ads are calculated and prepared by TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG, which captures satellite data in that nation’s largest media markets. CMAG’s calculations 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. The costs reported here therefore understate actual expenditures.


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The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law is a non-partisan public policy and law institute that focuses on fundamental issues of democracy and justice.  Its work ranges from voting rights to campaign finance reform, from racial justice in criminal law to presidential power in the fight against terrorism. A singular institution — part think tank, part public interest law firm, part advocacy group — the Brennan Center combines scholarship, legislative and legal advocacy, and communications to win meaningful, measurable change in the public sector.  For more information about the Brennan Center, go to