Raleigh, N.C. — 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. 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.