Three candidates participated in the 2013 Wisconsin primary on February 19: incumbent Justice Pat Roggensack, attorney Vince Megna, and Marquette University law professor Ed Fallone. Justice Roggensack and Professor Fallone received the highest number of votes and moved on to the general election, which took place on April 2. Justice Roggensack won reelection, maintaining the Court’s 4–3 conservative majority.
Television spending for this year’s Supreme Court race was lower than in recent years, where contentious races put Wisconsin fifth in the nation in TV spending from 2000–2009. In 2011, total TV spending in Wisconsin was more than $3.9 million, in a Supreme Court race that many groups recast as a referendum on Governor Scott Walker following his controversial decision to change the state’s collective bargaining process.
In 2013, Fallone was outspent by Roggensack and outside groups nearly four-to-one. The pro-business group WMC Issues Mobilization Council spent approximately $250,000 on ads supporting Roggensack during the general election, and the conservative Wisconsin Club for Growth spent nearly $220,000 on ads supporting Roggensack in the primary. Roggensack spent over $117,000 on TV ads, while Fallone spent almost $150,000. Progressive and labor groups sat out of this year’s race after spending nearly $1.4 million on TV ads in 2011.
Ads by Roggensack and the outside groups supporting her campaign struck a positive tone, highlighting her record and experience. In contrast, Fallone’s one ad focused on dysfunction in the Wisconsin Supreme Court, including an allegation by Justice Ann Walsh Bradley that Justice David Prosser choked her during an argument.
Total Primary Spending (Updated October 25, 2013): $283,400*
Total Election Spending (Updated October 25, 2013): $734,420*
For more information on spending in Wisconsin, click here [PDF].
*After these numbers were originally posted in the spring of 2013, CMAG released an updated estimate of TV spending with numbers that were lower than previously calculated. CMAG’s data editing process may take between three to four months, and as a result, estimated spending totals were changed after the editing process was fully completed.
March 23 - Start Someplace Rev
Justice Pat Roggensack says, “Luckily when it comes to our state Supreme Court there’s a very experienced, independent, and hard-working candidate already on the job.”
March 20, 2013 – Giggles, Laughs, and Smiles
An ad by the WMC Issues Mobilization Committee saying “Pat Roggensack protected Wisconsin children, voting to close a loop hole that would have let a sexual predator back on the street.”
March 19, 2013 – Descend into Dysfunction
Candidate Ed Fallone says, “People want to see a justice who has the courage to follow the law and stand up for the working families of Wisconsin.”
February 7, 2013 – Public Safety
The Wisconsin Club for Growth says Justice Pat Roggensack "has been brilliant in her demonstration of leadership and sound judgment. She has upheld the values of fairness and neutrality."
February 6, 2013 – Start Someplace
Justice Pat Roggensack says, "Luckily when it comes to our state Supreme Court there’s a very experienced, independent, and hard-working candidate already on the job."
Patrick Marley, Patience Roggensack, Ed Fallone Advance Out of Supreme Court Primary, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, February 19. 2013.
Patrick Marley, Supreme Court Fracas in 2011 Figures in Race, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, February 16. 2013.
Scott Bauer, Challengers Push for Wis. Supreme Court Personality Change, Associated Press via Wisconsin Law Journal, February 8, 2013.
Bruce Vielmetti, Wisconsin Supreme Court Candidates Mix It Up During First Joint Forum, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, February 7, 2013.
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.