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Who’s listening on the public campaign funding issue?

Here’s another item that keeps rearing its ugly head in Republican budgets, despite widespread opposition: Repeal the law authorizing public campaign funding for judicial races.

Judges want to keep it.

The public wants to keep it.

Other states want to model it. Yesterday, a former West Virginia judge, John McCuskey — a Republican — touted his state’s public financing program as worthwhile for judges, who don’t necessarily relish campaign fundraising:

Maybe they wouldn’t be good legislators or governors, but they might well be good judges, and you don’t wanna discourage people that really don’t like that aspect of running for office- having to raise great deals of money- from being in the pool. And this puts them in the pool.

But our Republican governor and Republican state senators want to drop it.

Why? State Sen. Pete Brunstetter says that the money currently provided to judicial candidates is not enough to run a competitive race here, and suspects that the amount they’d need to do so would be just to much for the state to afford.

“If you adjusted fees or you adjusted amounts to make a statewide candidate be able to run a statewide race, it would just be too expensive to administer the program at all,” Brunstetter said yesterday.

Says who? Did we somehow miss the groundswell of complaints from judges saying they get too little from the fund?

Regardless, the Senate appears primed to pass that repeal along with its budget, largely  intact, in a second vote today.

But perhaps there’s hope in the House.  That’s where Judge McCuskey had the opportunity to air his views, something there’s been little of in the Senate.

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