Key conservative players in North Carolina have formed the N.C. Judicial Coalition, a tax-exempt Super PAC, that will engage in fundraising to support incumbent state Supreme Court Justice Paul M. Newby.
Court of Appeals Judge Sam Ervin IV (photo above left) is challenging Justice Newby (photo above right). Both candidates have qualified to receive public funding for their campaigns under a program that North Carolina has pioneered, according to a News & Observer article. The candidates’ campaigns have raised about $82,000 each, and both have qualified for public financing adding up to an additional $240,100.
A member of the independent expenditure committee’s board, former state GOP Chairman Tom Fetzer, said, “Heading into this election, which is largely publicly financed, candidates have a limited ability to get their message out,” and it seemed beneficial to set up the Super PAC to help Justice Newby.
In the election, the 4-3 balance of the state’s highest court is at stake; it currently “tips conservative,” according to the News & Observer. Half a dozen lawsuits dealing with such hot issues as redistricting, abortion and education funding in legislation passed by the Republican-dominated legislature could come before the high court.
A number of Republican figures are involved with the independent expenditure committee, including I. Beverly Lake, a former chief justice of the state Supreme Court, who sits on its board of directors. Another former chief justice who is a registered Democrat, Burley Mitchell Jr., also sits on the board.
The article said a nonprofit called FairJudges.net, the first such entity in North Carolina, endorsed several judicial candidates in 2006. It spent about $200,000, which included donations from trial lawyers.
Tags: North Carolina