Gavel Grab

Archive for the 'Lower-Court Elections' Category

In Local Court Race, a Lawyers' PAC Makes News

WA_23025Gavel Grab mentioned recently that the political action committee of an auto insurer spent more than $300,000 in support of two local judges seeking re-election in the Miami area. Now, across the country, a PAC’s stance and its potential to spend big in a Washington state judicial election are making news.

The Seattle Times carried the following headline: “DUI lawyers PAC shifts support in judicial race to co-founder’s wife/A PAC founded by DUI-defense lawyers is targeting King County district Judge Ketu Shah in the November election, backing attorney Sarah Hayne, the wife of a longtime leader in the group.”

The article says Citizens for Judicial Excellence, the PAC, praised Shah’s qualifications when he was appointed in 2013.  Now, it says, the PAC has shifted support to Shah’s challenger this fall, the spouse of one of its leaders. The PAC has about $250,00 on hand and is likely to spend part of it to defeat Judge Shah, the newspaper says.


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PAC Spends More Than $300,000 in Two Local Judicial Races

Sales-Tax-money-gavelThe political action committee of an auto insurer spent more than $300,000 in support of the re-election of two local judges in the Miami area, and one of the judges was re-elected while the second was defeated, the Miami Herald reported.

Circuit Judge Rod Smith defeated challenger Christian Carrazana, a personal injury attorney. Judge Nuria Saenz was defeated by personal injury lawyer Victoria Ferrer. A rival, less-funded political action committee also was set up by personal injury lawyers to support the challengers.

It was reported earlier that spending by United Auto Insurance’s political committee appeared to be unprecedented for its scope in a local judicial election (see Gavel Grab). Read more

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Big Spending Spilling Over to Local Judicial Races in Florida?

In Florida, it appears that a practice of big-money spending on judicial races has spilled over from the 2012 state Supreme Court election to two local Miami-Dade races this summer.

There is a “bitter election battle” in the two races between the political action committees established by an auto insurance company and by private injury attorneys, with the former supporting two incumbent judges by spending almost $227,000 so far, the Miami Herald reported.

The former PAC is named Citizens for Judicial Fairness and the latter, Citizens for Judicial Excellence; it has raised $47,000. The newspaper said the former group’s spending “appears to be a first” for a local judicial election, and that the treasurer for one of the incumbent judges’ campaigns resigned in protest “over the perception that a special-interest group is spending exorbitantly before the Aug. 26 election.”

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