- Associated Press - Friday, December 4, 2015

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The party nominees in this year’s hotly contested race for Pennsylvania’s highest court received a record total of more than $12 million in campaign contributions, according to new postelection reports.

Nearly $10 million of the money, much of it in five- and six-figure contributions from organized labor and trial lawyers, went to the Democrats who conquered all three open seats.

Philadelphia Judge Kevin Dougherty raised the most, $4.6 million. State Superior Court Judge David Wecht took in $3.3 million and Christine Donohue, also a Superior Court judge, received about $2 million.

The new justices will take their seats when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court convenes on Jan. 4. The deadline to file the finance reports was Thursday.

None of the Republicans broke the $1 million mark in a contest that was dominated by broadcast TV spots. Commonwealth Court Judge Anne Covey raised the most, $937,000, while Adams County Judge Mike George received $844,000 and Superior Court Judge Judy Olson took in $564,000.

The candidates’ campaigns reported expenditures of about $11.5 million, although that was supplemented by about $3.5 million spent by two political committees that sponsored negative TVs designed to weaken candidates on the opposite side.

The Pennsylvanians for Judicial Reform committee spent more than $2.5 million to air spots that attacked GOP candidates nearly 2,000 times during the campaign, according to an analysis by the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity.

The Republican State Leadership Committee, based in Washington, spent about $1 million to air commercials attacking Democratic candidates about 1,400 times.

The integrity center analyzes political ads on broadcast television from 210 media markets around the country based on data from Kantar Media/CMAG, a media tracking firm that provides a widely accepted estimate of how much it costs to air each spot.



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