NC Supreme Court primary spending tops $1M

Posted May 5, 2014

This is a still image from the Justice for All NC ad attacking Supreme Court Justice Robin Hudson.

— A Republican group bankrolling an ad that accuses North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Robin Hudson of being sympathetic to child molesters poured more money into the race on May 2, making the state Supreme Court primary a $1 million campaign.

Public records show the Republican State Leadership Committee, a Washington, D.C.-based super PAC that can take unlimited donations from corporate sources, transferred $250,000 to Justice for All NC on May 2. Justice for All NC has been running an ad that cites Hudson's dissent in a case that dealt with the post-conviction release of convicted child molesters. NEW My Ballot logo My Ballot: Compare candidates side-by-side

Former Supreme Court Chief Justices Burley Mitchell, Jim Exum and Henry Frye, and former Supreme Court Associate Justices Patricia Timmons-Goodson, Phil Carlton and Harry Martin issued a joint statement calling the ads "disgusting" and "false." Hudson has disputed the ads, saying they take passages of her written dissent in the case out of context. 

"Justice Robin Hudson has had a distinguished career on the Supreme Court. She has earned the trust of people across North Carolina. She is fair and independent. She deserves to be re-elected," the six former state Supreme Court justices wrote.

Justice for All NC is not the only outside group spending money in the race. The N.C. Chamber's Independent Expenditure PAC is spending $250,000 on ads that praise Hudson's opponents, Jeannette Doran and Eric Levinson. The Chamber's effort and the NC Justice for All's ads are not technically coordinated or connected, but some of the same companies are funding both sets of ads. 

Two of the three candidates will emerge from this technically nonpartisan primary to run in the fall general election campaign. However, Hudson is a Democrat, and both Levinson and Doran are Republicans. 

Together, there is more than $1.1 million in outside spending in race, before the candidates themselves weighed in.

Campaign reports showed that Hudson had raised $238,172.51 by April 19. Other reports filed after that date showed she had raised at least another $84,000 at roughly the same time the Justice for All NC ads began running. Although public records won't confirm her spending until after the primary, it is likely that Hudson will spend much of that money fending off the Justice for All NC ads during the primary. 

Levinson had raised more than $263,000 for his campaign by the April 17 deadline, spending most of that on the primary. For her part, Doran has reported raising a little over $11,000. 

All of that means total spending on the state Supreme Court primary will likely top $1.5 million before the general election campaign begins.


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  • archmaker May 6, 2014

    When former Charlotte Mayor Richard Vinroot saw the TV attack ad against Supreme Court Justice Robin Hudson, he was appalled. “Despicable,” he called it in an email to the Observer editorial board.

    The ad is so offensive that Vinroot, a diehard Republican, said he will protest it by voting for the Democrat Hudson.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU May 6, 2014

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    Who would believe these ads? How could anyone believe that *any* judge would be "sympathetic toward child molesters"?

  • Atheistinafoxhole May 6, 2014

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    Some people will fall for this nonsense, but not all. I voter for Justice Hudson this morning.

  • rduwxboy May 6, 2014

    These ads against Robin Hudson are just beyond repugnant. I did research on this because I am not knowledgeable. These ads claiming she supports child molesters are just pathetic and filthy - and sadly, people will believe them.

  • Bobby Broadwell May 6, 2014
    user avatar

    We will see if NC voters are stupid enough to allow non-NC big money interests.... Koch Bros and more of their kind to buy our Supreme Court.

  • disgusted2010 May 5, 2014

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    Listening to an attorney was your first mistake.

  • disgusted2010 May 5, 2014

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    Based just on the posts on this one article I say not how ignorant they are about the judicial system but how ignorant they are generally.

  • sisu May 5, 2014

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    What an odd quote for primary season. If we are supposed to all unite and agree, what is the point of elections? We could just have a supreme leader like in Korea. Odd statement.

    OLENCNATIVE, however, I think you make an excellent point. If the Koch's are pouring that much into ads against her they must be thinking it will be good for them if she loses.

  • Kenny Dunn May 5, 2014
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    Let's all hope the voters are more intelligent and better informed than the Koch-sponsored ads assume.

  • whatelseisnew May 5, 2014

    I will be glad when the primary is over. I am tired of the ads, the mailings and the phone calls. I really wish we could have a do not call for political organizations and other people pushing candidates. Course post primary it starts all over for the election cycle. too bad we had so few worthwhile people running. Most of them are political lifers and should not be elected.