Dec 22 2009
Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts today announced that the 2009 Supreme Court election between Republican Joan Orie Melvin (the winning candidate) and Democrat Jack Panella is likely to set new fundraising and spending records. The final numbers are not yet in, as candidates can continue to raise funds until the end of the year. But we can now report that the Supreme Court election cost at least $4.5 million, and PMC believes the total is significantly higher.
PMC’s press release documents fundraising and spending by the candidates’ campaigns, but notes that although they together raised and spent over $3.6 million, that is not the whole money story. Instead, we found it necessary to research who else was spending money on the election.
The answer was political bodies, incuding the state Republican Party, the state Democratic Party, and the Republican Senate Committee. In fact, the state Republican Party directly funded Judge Orie Melvin’s television campaign, to the tune of at least $975,849. This means the state Party outspent the candidate’s own campaign.
Reports also reveal that from January 1, 2009 until November 23, 2009, the state Republican Party spent at least four million more and the state Democratic Party spent close to $2 million. Although the parties were not required to identify the candidates on whom they spent money, it seems reasonable to assume that a good portion of that six million dollars was directed to the Supreme Court election.
Pennsylvania had the nation’s most expensive Supreme Court elections in the 2007-08 election cycle, and the available data is leading elections experts to predict that Pennsylvania will again earn that title for 2009-10. As PMC’s Lynn Marks explained, “Pennsylvanians should not take pride in leading the nation in spending for judicial elections. Each dollar raised and spent raises yet another doubt in voters’ minds about whether or not justice is for sale.”Tags: fundraising, Jack Panella, Joan Orie Melvin, judicial elections, Lynn Marks, Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, Republican Senate Committee, state Democratic Party, state Republican Party