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Incumbency And Fundraising Trump Race And Gender In Judicial Elections
Helena, Mont.—The recent appointment of Justice Sonya Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court launched a wide discussion of racial, ethnic and gender diversity in the nation's courts. A new report from the National Institute on Money in State Politics, titled "Diversity in State Judicial Campaigns, 2007-2008 <http://www.followthemoney.org/press/ReportView.phtml?r=412&em=77> " examines these factors, as well as the power of money and incumbency in state judicial elections. The report documents three primary findings:
Women and members of ethnic or racial minorities were under-represented on the ballot. Only 38 percent (151 of 399) of candidates who ran for high court or appellate seats were female or a member of an ethnic or racial minority.
The two largest factors determining the outcome of judicial elections were money and incumbency. Fewer than half (51 of 123) of the judges or justices seeking re-election in a non-retention election even faced a challenger.
Candidates in partisan judicial elections, where they are listed on the ballot with a party affiliation, averaged up to three times more money than those in nonpartisan or retention races.
The nonprofit, nonpartisan National Institute on Money in State Politics collects and analyzes campaign contribution information on state-level candidates, political party committees, and ballot committees. Its free, searchable database of contributions, as well as the full text of the report <http://www.followthemoney.org/press/ReportView.phtml?r=412&em=77> is available online at FollowTheMoney.org.
Mike Wessler, Communications Specialist
National Institute on Money in State Politics
833 N. Last Chance Gulch, 2nd Floor
Helena, MT 59601
phone 406-449-2480 ext. 123 • fax 406-457-2091
MikeW@statemoney.org • www.FollowTheMoney.org
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