The conservative case to preserve judicial public financing
RALEIGH - On the very day that the N.C. Senate could vote to end North Carolina's innovative judicial public financing program, respected Republican leaders from West Virginia, including a former member of the West Virginia Supreme Court and a current member of that state's legislature, are coming to Raleigh to make the case for public financing of judicial elections.
Faced with the damaging influence of special interest money in judicial elections, West Virginia looked to North Carolina's exemplary judicial public financing program to protect the integrity of its courts, recently enacting a law based on North Carolina's model. North Carolina's public financing system is now threatened by pending legislation in the General Assembly.
At the same time, this year West Virginia, with bipartisan support, permanently adopted a judicial public financing system modeled after North Carolina after a trial period in 2012.
North Carolina's judicial public financing program has been a proven success since it was implemented in 2004. The program has been used by 80 percent of appellate court candidates since its launch, including all eight eligible candidates in 2012. It is also supported by 68 percent of North Carolina voters, including 67 percent of Republicans, 69 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of unaffiliated voters, according to a recent poll commissioned by the N.C. Center for Voter Education.