Gavel Grab

Record Spending in PA Supreme Court Race?

The latest Pennsylvania Supreme Court election cost at least $4.5 million, and when all the final numbers are collected it likely will set soaring fundraising and spending records, according to a report by Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts.

The state GOP pumped at least $975,849 into the TV campaign for the winning candidate, Judge Joan Orie Melvin, and thereby outspent the candidate’s own campaign, according to research by PMC, a partner of Justice at Stake.

The campaigns of Judge Orie Melvin and the losing candidate, Judge Jack Panella, reported raising and spending a total of more than $3.6 million to date, but PMC’s research suggested that high spending by the state political parties and other political entities, such as the Republican Senate Committee, could raise the overall cost of the election by millions of dollars.

“Pennsylvanians have a right to know what the Supreme Court election cost; we urge the campaigns and the political parties to give a full accounting of their spending,” said Lynn Marks, PMC’s executive director.

“In the last three years, Pennsylvania has become the new Ground Zero of high-price Supreme Court politics,” said Charles Hall of Justice at Stake. To learn more about the Pennsylvania election, check out Gavel Grab; to read about issues raised by big spending in judicial elections, visit Justice at Stake’s issues page on the topic. (The photo shows Pennsylvania’s sitting Supreme Court.)

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  2. […] for election reform in Pennsylvania, you can check out earlier posts in Gavel Grab, along with information about PMC’s report on spending in the 2009 Supreme Court election. You can read about judicial appointment and […]

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