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

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.

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, emoore@justiceats­, (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.


Justice at Stake is a nonpar­tisan, nonprofit campaign work­ing to keep Amer­ica’s courts fair and impar­tial. Justice at Stake and its 50-plus state and national part­ners educate the public, and work for reforms to keep polit­ics and special interests out of the courtroom —so judges can protect our Consti­tu­tion, our rights and the Rule of Law. For more about Justice at Stake, go to www.justiceats­, or www.gavel­

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 www.bren­nan­cen­