The Justice at Stake Campaign–a watchdog group that works to keep special interests out of the courts–has declared that Michigan’s Supreme Court race is the “Nation’s Dirtiest.”
According to the organization, a “flood” of television ads in the election between Republican Chief Justice Cliff Taylor and Democratic challenger Diane Hathaway have turned the campaign into “an orgy of negativity.” Television ads have been primarily “attack ads” while the race has been “marked by heavy spending and organized attempts by special interests, political parties and an emerging class of “superdonors” to pack courts with judges to their liking.” More than $1 million was spent on advertising by Taylor’s campaign and his supporters in the two-week period ending October 24. The amount is more than four times what his opponent spent.
Despite the spending, polls indicate that 57% of voters in Michigan are undecided in the race. While that may reflect an aversion to negative advertising, it also probably has a lot to do with the lack of substantive coverage of the race and a focus by the media on the presidential race.