Gavel Grab

TV Advertising Heats Up Ahead of Wisconsin Court General Election

In advance of the Wisconsin Supreme Court election April 5, TV advertising in the contest has ramped up quickly, with contract buys for the general election reaching at least $573,145 so far, Justice at Stake and the Brennan Center for Justice said on Wednesday.

Here are the general election totals so far for ad purchasing: incumbent Justice Rebecca Bradley, at least $79,885; Court of Appeals Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg, at least $47,280; and the Wisconsin Alliance for Reform, booking ads opposing Kloppenburg, at least $445,980.

When added to TV ad purchases for the earlier primary, total TV spending to date is at least $1,296,745.

“While candidates are jumping into the fray with their own TV ads, this Supreme Court election remains dominated by outside spending,” said JAS Executive Director Susan Liss. “We’ve also seen the emergence of crime-themed ads and attack ads, which are all too common in judicial elections nationwide. Unfortunately, Wisconsinites are likely to get a heavy dose of these themes before Election Day.”

“For years, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has been beset by high-cost and politicized elections, which have created troubling conflicts of interest for many of its judges,” said Alicia Bannon, Senior Counsel in the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. “At the same time, Wisconsin has weakened its campaign finance and recusal rules and eliminated a judicial public financing program, making it harder for judges to steer clear of special interest influence.”

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