Spending yields mixed results in fight for state high courts

SEATTLE (AP) — Millions of dollars in campaign spending produced mixed results for the conservative and liberal groups seeking to sway state supreme courts around the country.

Sitting justices fought back big-dollar opposition in Washington and Kansas, although liberals gained influence on the North Carolina Supreme Court. The expensive campaigns reflect the importance the groups have placed on state supreme courts, which often affirm or overturn policies set by state legislatures.

Outside groups spent a record $16.4 million on TV spots this election cycle, topping the $13.5 million spent during the 2011-12 races, according to data from the Brennan Center for Justice. Total TV spending, including ads by the candidates themselves, neared $33 million, just shy of the amount spent four years ago.