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Buying Time 2012: Michigan

This page features Michigan judicial ads of 2012.

Published: September 12, 2012

For inform­a­tion on Michigan’s spend­ing, and all other tele­vi­sion spend­ing in state supreme court races, click here.

Michigan had three Supreme Court seats up for elec­tion this year. Two of those seats were for eight-year posi­tions on the high court. Seven candid­ates, includ­ing incum­bent Justice Stephen Mark­man (R), vied for these seats. In addi­tion, there was also a separ­ate race for a partial-term posi­tion that would end Jan. 1, 2015. Three candid­ates vied for this seat, includ­ing incum­bent Justice Brian Zahra (R). Justice Zahra was appoin­ted in 2011 to replace Justice Maura Corrigan, who left to lead the Michigan Depart­ment of Human Services; this elec­tion is to finish her original eight year term. At the time, the Court was composed of four Repub­lic­ans and three Demo­crats, which gave this elec­tion the poten­tial to change the compos­i­tion of the bench. (List of candid­ates here.)

Michigan has seen high levels of spend­ing in Supreme Court elec­tions over the last several elec­tion cycles.  From 2000–2009, the state ranked sixth nation­ally for candid­ate fundrais­ing, and ranked third in the nation (after only Ohio and Alabama) in terms of spend­ing on tele­vi­sion advert­ising.  Non-candid­ate groups, includ­ing polit­ical parties and special interest groups, were partic­u­larly active in spon­sor­ing tele­vi­sion advert­ising—in­clud­ing harsh negat­ive attack ads.  In 2010, Michigan had the most expens­ive judi­cial race in the coun­try.  Estim­ated spend­ing was above $5 million on tele­vi­sion advert­ise­ments alone.

The general elec­tion was held on Novem­ber 6th. The winners of the two eight-year posi­tions were Brid­get McCor­mack and Stephen Mark­man, and the winner of the partial term ending Janu­ary 1, 2015 was Brian Zahra. A more detailed summary of airings is avail­able here.

On Decem­ber 26, 2013 Governor Rick Snyder signed into law a bill that doubles the amount indi­vidu­als and inde­pend­ent action commit­tees can donate to a candid­ate, in addi­tion to allow­ing the donors behind issues ads to remain anonym­ous. This bill comes in response to efforts by advoc­ates and Secret­ary of State Ruth John­son to close loop­holes in Michigan’s campaign finance laws that allow funders to remain undis­closed. Michigan had the highest state supreme court elec­tion spend­ing in the coun­try in 2012, with nearly 75 percent of spend­ing unre­por­ted due to the state’s lax disclos­ure laws. 

Click here to return to the Buying Time — 2012 Homepage.


Advert­ise­ments


Novem­ber 5, 2012 – With Your Support 

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An ad by Brid­get Mary McCor­mack saying she will “make sure our Supreme Court follows the rule of law, not polit­ics.”

Novem­ber 1, 2012 – Protect­ing Chil­dren Rev 

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An ad by the Demo­cratic State Cent­ral Commit­tee saying, “Supreme Court Justice Brian Zahra, Justice Steven Mark­man, and Colleen O’Brien have protec­ted crim­in­als, not kids.” 

Novem­ber 1, 2012 – Three Protect Famil­ies 

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Demo­cratic State Cent­ral Commit­tee’s combined ad for Connie Kelley, Sheila John­son, and Brid­get McCor­mack saying they will protect famil­ies.

Octo­ber 30, 2012 – Freed Terror­ist

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Ad ad by the Judi­cial Crisis Network accus­ing Brid­get McCor­mack of “volun­teer[ing] to repres­ent and free suspec­ted terror­ists.”


Octo­ber 26, 2012 – Every Elec­tion

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A combined ad for Steven Mark­man and Brian Zahra saying, “We will continue to defend the consti­tu­tion and protect the rule of law, not special interest.”


Octo­ber 26, 2012 – Praised

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An ad by the Michigan Repub­lican Party saying Sheila John­son is “a judi­cial activ­ist with little exper­i­ence and a favor­ite of special interests, the same special interests that tried to hijack our consti­tu­tion.”


Octo­ber 20, 2012 – Remem­ber

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Demo­cratic State Cent­ral Commit­tee’s combined ad for Connie Kelley, Sheila John­son, and Brid­get McCor­mack saying there are three reas­ons to remem­ber these three candid­ates. 


Octo­ber 19, 2012 – Hardly Tough on Crime

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An ad sponsored by the Michigan Repub­lican Party against Connie Kelley, Sheila John­son, and Brid­get McCor­mack saying, “Tough on crime? Hardly.”


Octo­ber 19, 2012 – Three Reas­ons

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An ad sponsored by the Demo­cratic State Cent­ral Commit­tee for Connie Kelley, Sheila John­son, and Brid­get McCor­mack saying, “There are three reas­ons to remem­ber three candid­ates for Supreme Court…middle class famil­ies…Michigan kids…­wo­men.”


Octo­ber 10, 2012 – As Michigan Rebuilds

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An ad sponsored by the Michigan Repub­lican Party for Brian Zahra, Steven Mark­man, and Colleen O’Brien saying, “Keep fight­ing for Michigan.”


Septem­ber 29, 2012 – Insur­ance Court

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Demo­cratic State Cent­ral Commit­tee’s combined ad against Brian Zahra, Steven Mark­man, and Colleen O’Brien saying, “When special interests win, you lose.”


Septem­ber 26, 2012 – Protect­ing Chil­dren

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Demo­cratic State Cent­ral Commit­tee’s combined ad for Connie Kelley, Sheila John­son, and Brid­get McCor­mack saying they will protect chil­dren.


Septem­ber 18, 2012 – These Three Rev

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Demo­cratic State Cent­ral Commit­tee’s combined ad for Connie Kelley, Sheila John­son, and Brid­get McCor­mack saying they will protect famil­ies.


Septem­ber 4, 2012 – These Three

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Demo­cratic State Cent­ral Commit­tee’s combined ad for Connie Kelley, Sheila John­son, and Brid­get McCor­mack saying they will protect famil­ies.


News

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