Buying Time 2016 - North Carolina

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

May 30, 2017

One seat was up for election on the North Carolina Supreme Court. North Carolina justices are chosen in nonpartisan elections and serve eight-year terms. In 2015, a law was passed allowing supreme court justices to be reselected through retention elections rather than contested elections. This was challenged by attorney Sabra Faires, along with two Wake County voters, on the grounds that the retention election law violated the state constitutional requirement that justices be selected through elections. After the retention election law was overturned by the district court, thus reinstating the use of contested nonpartisan elections, the state Supreme Court heard this case and deadlocked, leaving the lower court ruling in place.

Therefore, a special nonpartisan primary was held on June 7, 2016 for the position. Incumbent Robert Edmunds, attorney Sabra Faires, Superior Court Judge Michael Morgan, and former bank vice president Daniel Robertson all competed in the election. Justice Edmunds and Judge Morgan, were the top two vote-getters and faced one another in the general election on November 8, 2016. Judge Michael Morgan was elected to the term. 

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

Kantar Media/CMAG: Estimated Total TV Spending: $3,493,320*

  • Estimated Spending by the North Carolina Chamber: $870,900
  • Estimated Spending by Robert Edmunds: $105,580
  • Estimated Spending by North Carolina Families First: $1,577,760
  • Estimated Spending by Fair Judges: $918,790
  • Estimated Spending by Michael Morgan: $20,290

*Spending estimate last updated on: May 30, 2017

State Disclosures: Documented TV Spending:450,000*

  • Disclosed spending by the North Carolina Chamber: 450,000

*State disclosure totals last updated on September 14, 2016

FCC Contracts: Recorded TV Contracts: $2,051,574*

  • Television ad buys recorded for Michael Morgan: $204,060
  • Television ad buys recorded for Robert Edmunds: $67,013
  • Television ad buys recorded for Valerie Zachary (a Court of Appeals Candidate) and Robert Edmunds: $48,910
  • Television ad buys recorded for North Carolina Chamber: $504,425
  • Television ad buys recorded for North Carolina Families First: $670,967.04
  • Television ad buys recorded for Fair Judges: $556,190

*Recorded ad buys last updated on November 2, 2016

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November 2 - Redistricting 2

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This criticizes Edmunds' redistricting decision and mentions Morgan's Obama endorsement.

Sponsor:  NC Families First

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $707,490


November 2 - Honest & Clean Rev 3

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad supports Bob Edmunds.

Sponsor:  Fair Judges

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $110,590


October 28 - Redistricting

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad criticizes Edmunds for upholding the districts of North Carolina and praises Michael Morgan.

Sponsor: Michael Morgan

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $20,290


October 27 - Honest & Clean Rev 2

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad supports Bob Edmunds.

Sponsor:  Fair Judges

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $79,220


October 26 - Honest & Clean Rev

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad says Edmunds is "keeping it honest, fair, and clean."

Sponsor: Fair Judges

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $567,000


October 26 - Honest & Clean

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad says Edmunds is running an honest and clean campaign.

Sponsor: Fair Judges

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $161,980


October 21 - Redistricting

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad says Edmunds "wrote the decision supporting his party's discrimination," stemming from a redistricting case. 

Sponsor: North Carolina Families First

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $870,270


October 20 - Tenacious and Successful

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad describes Bob Edmunds as "throwing the book at sexual predators."

Sponsor: North Carolina Chamber of Commerce

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG):$478,830


October 19 - Strong Leadership

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad says Edmunds is "a conservative judge committed to upholding our laws."

Sponsor: Robert Edmunds

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $105,580


June 1 - Keep Children Safe

Stream Video (QT) | Download Storyboard

This ad says "Bob Edmunds has worked to protect children" by "throw[ing] the book at predators."

Sponsor: The North Carolina Chamber

Estimated Spending (Kantar Media/CMAG): $392,070


News


Anne Blythe, NC Supreme Court Divided on Retention Elections; None for Now, The News and Observer, May 6, 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.