18 Just. Sys. J. 257 (1995-1996)
When Money Doesn't Matter: Campaign Spending for Minor Statewide Judicial and Executive Offices in North Carolina

handle is hein.journals/jusj18 and id is 271 raw text is: When Money Doesn't Matter:
Campaign Spending for Minor
Statewide Judicial and Executive
Offices in North Carolina*
Theodore S. Arrington **
This article examines statewide, partisan elections in North Carolina for minor executive
offices, appellate judges, and trial court judges from 1988 to 1994. Elections for these
offices are unresponsive to expenditures and incumbency because candidates cannot raise
sufficient amounts of money to affect the vote. Partisan trends will continue to be the only
factor that significantly affects the vote for these offices unless candidates are able to raise
millions of dollars like candidatesfor higher office (U.S. senator and governor). Statewide
judicial candidates will continue to be elected without regard to credentials and judicial
philosophy, or they will have to engage in the kinds ofjudicial high finance now apparent
in states like Texas. Trial court judges are not important enough to raise such sums, and
statewide election for these offices has been maintained for partisan purposes. For
appellate court elections, raising large amounts of money brings questions about judicial
impartiality.
Literature on the role of money in campaigns and elections in America is voluminous,
although many of the important questions are far from settled. Less research is available
on minorjudicial and executive offices, and almost no research has been done on how much
money candidates for such offices must spend to affect the vote.
This article focuses on North Carolina, where the statewide electorate, in addition to
the major offices of president, U.S. senator, and governor, votes on these lower ballot
offices: minor executive offices collectively called the Council of State (lieutenant
governor, attorney general, auditor, commissioner of agriculture, commissioner of insur-
ance, commissioner of labor, secretary of state, superintendent of public instruction, and
treasurer); all appellate judges; and, uniquely among the states, all of the more than ninety
superior court trial level judges (Drennan, 1993). By comparing the relationship of
. Thanks to Saul Brenner. Philip Dubois, Gary Rassel, and various anonymous reviewers for invaluable advice
on versions of this article. Some of the data were collected pursuant to expert witness testimony in Republican
Party of North Carolina v. Hunt. I am indebted to the staff of the law firm of Patton Boggs in Greensboro, North
Carolina, for paralegal assistance in data collection. The opinions expressed in this paper are solely those of the
author based on independent scholarly judgment.
.. Theodore S. Arrington is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of North Carolina,
Charlotte.

THE JUSTICE SYSTEM JOURNAL, Volume 18, Number 3 (1996)

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