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Buying Time 2012

Our 2012 reporting continues the groundbreaking analysis conducted since 2000 examining the sponsorship, content, and costs of televised state supreme court campaign ads.

Published: February 28, 2012

News | Methodology | Total State Spending

The Brennan Center’s “Buying Time 2012” page features every judicial television advertisement that was aired in those states holding elections for state supreme courts in 2012.  Every advertisement is available for viewing in video format.  We also feature storyboards for each ad, which include screen captures of the ads at timed intervals, along with a transcription of the ad’s complete text.  Finally, we provide summaries of the amounts spent on TV ads in different states, and breakdowns of which groups are doing the spending. See below for links to state-by-state coverage.  (TV ads, storyboards, and figures on spending are provided to the Brennan Center by Kantar Media/CMAG.)

Our 2012 reporting continues the groundbreaking  analysis first conducted in 2000 examining the sponsorship, content, and costs of televised state supreme court campaign ads. Analyses of advertising over these election cycles has culminated in six reports: The New Politics of Judicial Elections, The New Politics of Judicial Elections 2002, The New Politics of Judicial Elections 2004, The New Politics of Judicial Elections 2006, The New Politics of Judicial Elections, 2000–2009: Decade of Change and The New Politics of Judicial Elections 2010. These studies document the growing threats to fair and impartial courts from big money, special interest pressure, and television air wars.

State Breakdowns

Alabama | Arkansas | Florida | Illinois | Iowa | Kentucky

Louisiana | Michigan | Mississippi | Montana | North Carolina

Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Texas | West Virginia

Real Time Analysis 

Throughout the election season the Brennan Center issued a series of analyses focused on judicial election spending 

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This is a collection of negative attack ads run in recent state supreme court elections.


Editorial, Judicial Elections, Unhinged, The New York Times, November 18, 2012

Lizette Alvarez, G.O.P. Aims to Remake Florida Supreme Court, The New York Times, October 2, 2012. 

Editorial, Politics, Principle and an Attack on the Courts, The New York Times, September 23, 2012

The Reliable Source, How Michigan Judicial Candidate Bridget Mary Mccormack Got ‘The West Wing’ Cast for Her Campaign Video, Washington Post Blog, September 20, 2012

Elaine Silvestrini, State justice uncomfortable with campaigning to keep seat, Tampa Tribune, September 12, 2012.

Brady Dennis, Super PACs, donors turn sights on judicial branch, Washington Post, March 29, 2012

No Way to Choose a Judge, The New York Times, March 15, 2012

Greg Hinz, Supreme Court hopefuls draw big money from single firms, Crain’s Chicago Business, March 7, 2012

Julie Carr Smyth, Former judge wins Ohio Dems’ high court primary, Associated Press, March 7, 2012

Roger Alford, Public financing proposed for Supreme Court races, Real Clear Politics, February 26, 2012

Randy Evans, 2012 state judicial elections will be key, Atlanta Business Chronicle, August 26, 2011


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.