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Chief justice candidate's supporters looking for early money lead

Candidates for state Supreme Court are already anticipating expensive campaigns next year, following last year’s record-breaking contest between successful incumbent Justice Paul Newby and challenger Sam Ervin IV from the state Court of Appeals.

Recently, a fundraising letter went out on behalf of Justice Mark Martin, who is running for chief justice on the court, appealing for an early showing of financial muscle to dissuade potential opponents.

“Despite Mark’s accomplishments and his impressive qualifications for this position, there are those who are currently trying to recruit an opponent to run against Mark,” Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler writes in the letter. “Let’s respond to this effort by sending a strong message of financial support for mark and for his campaign effort.”

No one has yet announced a challenge to the seat being vacated by Chief Justice Sarah Parker, who reaches mandatory retirement age next year.

Two candidates have announced their intentions for Martin’s seat: Ervin and fellow appeals court Judge Robert N. Hunter Jr.

Liberal group's spending in 2012 campaigns reported

On Sunday, Dome reported some of the big corporate contributors to a national GOP group that helped finance N.C. Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby’s re-election.

On the other side of the ledger, the first post-election federal report from the North Carolina liberal umbrella group Common Sense Matters has also been filed.

It reports spending about $774,000 on about a dozen campaigns, including that of Newby’s challenger, appellate Judge Sam Ervin IV, mostly on direct mail.

Its last-minute contributors include the Teamster’s DRIVE Committee, which gave $40,000 total for the year; N.C. Futures Action Fund (Democratic activist Dean Debnam’s project), $295,000 total; the N.C. League of Conservation Voters, $80,000, and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, $21,000.

The Republican State Leadership Committee, which spent $13.3 million nationally, sent $1 million to the effort to re-elect Newby.

Redistricting plaintiffs ask for Newby recusal

Democrats, the state NAACP, and other nonprofits who are suing over redistricting plans want Supreme Court Judge Paul Newby to recuse himself from participating in the case.

They filed a motion Wednesday saying that individuals and political groups with a direct stake in the outcome of the redistricting case spent heavily to support his re-election, and their support "had a significant and disproportionate influence in Justice Newby's victory."

Liberals try to back former Justice Mitchell into a corner on Ervin attack ad

Liberal activists have been trying to force Burley Mitchell Jr., a former chief justice of the state Supreme Court, to disavow the attack ad that a super PAC bought trying to tie Democratic candidate Judge Sam Ervin IV with disgraced former Gov. Mike Easley.

Newby attack ad not coordinated with campaign, both sides say

Dome obtained a production copy of the pro-Justice Paul Newby attack ad on Saturday, and noted that in a title page before the ad begins the company, Innovative Advertising (which also produced the infamous “banjo ad”) lists the client as “Paul Newby for Supreme Court” and not Justice for All N.C.

Independent expenditure committees aren’t allowed to coordinate with a candidate’s campaign.

Pro-Newby super PAC responds to criticism over attack ad

The super PAC that produced the attack ad against Judge Sam Ervin IV on Friday is responding to criticism that the negative spot crossed a line that hasn’t been crossed before in North Carolina judicial elections.

Super PAC for Newby releases misleading attack ad against Ervin

A nasty, last-minute attack ad against state Supreme Court candidate Sam Ervin IV hit the airwaves Friday – full of inflammatory innuendo.

The ad comes from one of the super PACs pumping outside money into the campaign to re-elect state Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby over Ervin, an appellate court judge. The ad claims that Ervin and family members contributed thousands of dollars to “convicted felon Mike Easley’s campaign” – ignoring the fact that the campaign contributions would have been made before the former governor was convicted in 2010 of knowingly filing a false campaign report.

Ervin, Goldman leading in their races

The closely watched and highly funded race for the N.C. Supreme Court has tightened, according to a new poll.

Sam Ervin IV, a judge on the N.C. Court of Appeals, leads N.C. Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby by a 38-32 percent margin, according to a new poll commissioned the Civitas Institute, a Raleigh-based conservative advocacy group.

Another day, another quarter million $s in the Supreme Court race

The Washington, D.C.-based Republican State Leadership Committee has chipped in another $275,000 to help re-elect state Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby over appellate Judge Sam Ervin IV. That brings the outside group's contribution to the cause to $1.1 million.

The RSLC has an interest in retaining North Carolina's newly redrawn legislative and congressional districts, which will help keep Republicans in office in this state and in Congress.

Would donations force Newby to recuse on redistricting, other cases?

Political blogger and longtime veteran N.C. politico Gary Pearce raises an interesting point in a piece Wednesday. He writes:

“Looking at the big money backing Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby, a knowledgeable lawyer warns: ‘There would seem little doubt now but that Justice Newby will have to recuse himself from any redistricting case that might come before the high court.’

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