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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 

Featured Advert­ise­ments

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.