Tennessee justices retained in election that attracted $1.4M in TV ads

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Voters retained three supreme court justices in Tennessee on Thursday in a hard-fought contest that attracted an estimated $1.4 million in television advertising.

Justices Gary Wade, Connie Clark and Sharon Lee kept their jobs despite ads that accused them of being “liberal on crime” and “liberal on the Obama agenda.” The Tennessean, the Memphis Commercial Appeal and the New York Times have stories.

The justices spent an estimated $579,870 in joint ads while an anti-retention group funded by a PAC operated by the state’s lieutenant governor spent an estimated an estimated $474,150, according to Justice at Stake.

Also spending on ads opposing retention were Americans for Prosperity, a group funded by the Koch brothers, and the State Government Leadership Foundation. Meanwhile, Tennesseans for Fair Courts, a group formed by a local attorney, purchased ads in the support of the justices.

Clark spoke with the Tennessean during her victory party. “Our judicial system has been preserved,” she said. “Justice is not for sale in Tennessee.” Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey was also upbeat in a statement.

“For the first time in decades, we had a real election for the Supreme Court. Our Supreme Court justices traveled the state of Tennessee this summer meeting Tennesseans and learning things about our state that you can’t find in any law book,” Ramsey said. “Because of that, more Tennesseans than ever know the names of our Supreme Court justices and are aware they have a role in deciding who sits on the high court.”

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