Campaigning for the Bench: The Content of Political Advertising in Judicial Races

28 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2014

See all articles by Michael F. Salamone

Michael F. Salamone

Washington State University

Orion Yoesle

Washington State University; Washington State University

Travis N. Ridout

Washington State University

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

Since the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Republican Party of Minnesota v. White (2002), candidate running for state judicial offices have been free to engage in position-taking during their campaigns. This has led to a general concern that the floodgates have been opened for negative campaigning paid for by “special interests” – a practice many begrudgingly accept for legislative and executive races, but is considered by many observers to be inappropriate for those seeking a position as judge. Using data compiled by the Wisconsin Advertising Project and the Wesleyan Media Project, we conduct a content analysis of judicial campaign ads over the last decade. We investigate what issues candidates focus on in their ads, what factors lead to negative advertising, and how often judicial candidates try to remain “above the fray” by not invoking political language or positions in their ads. This research provides insight not only into the dynamics of judicial campaign advertising, but how those dynamics differ from those in races for other offices.

Keywords: state supreme courts, political advertising

Suggested Citation

Salamone, Michael F. and Yoesle, Orion and Ridout, Travis N., Campaigning for the Bench: The Content of Political Advertising in Judicial Races (2014). APSA 2014 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2452563

Michael F. Salamone (Contact Author)

Washington State University ( email )

Pullman, WA 99164
United States

Orion Yoesle

Washington State University ( email )

Wilson Rd.
College of Business
Pullman, WA 99164
United States

Washington State University ( email )

Wilson Rd.
College of Business
Pullman, WA 99164
United States

Travis N. Ridout

Washington State University ( email )

816 Johnson Tower
Troy Lane
Pullman, WA 99164
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.wsu.edu/~tnridout/

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