The good folks at Democracy NC are out with a new report today that shows a huge drop in special-interest funding for state judicial campaigns. The obvious cause, of course, North Carolina’s public financing program for judicial elections.
Here’s the media release that accompanied the report:
For Release Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Contact: Bob Hall, 919-489-1931
SPECIAL-INTEREST FUNDING DECLINES IN STATE COURT ELECTIONS
AS 77% OF THE TOP JUDGES QUALIFY FOR PUBLIC FUNDS
The end of 2010 marks the eighth year that North Carolina’s voluntary public campaign financing program for statewide judicial candidates has been in effect – long enough for it to be used or rejected in the staggered election cycles that have now involved all 22 seats on the state’s Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.
An analysis by the nonpartisan group Democracy North Carolina shows that a large majority of candidates across ideological, racial and gender lines have enrolled in the program, and this broad popularity has had a significant impact on increasing the diversity of judges on the two courts and reducing the role of special-interest money in their elections.
When the NC Supreme Court and Court of Appeals convene next year, 17 of the 22 members (77%) will be judges who successfully qualified for public financing in their campaigns. The 17 include all 11 women and the three African Americans elected to the two courts.
‘The majority of the NC Supreme Court justices will be women in 2011 for the first time in our state’s history,’ said Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carolina.”