National group pumps funds into state court campaign
A national political-action committee has jumped into the fray in the race for a state Supreme Court seat, bringing more than $350,000 and...
The Associated Press
OLYMPIA — A national political-action committee has jumped into the fray in the race for a state Supreme Court seat, bringing more than $350,000 and a TV ad targeting Chief Justice Gerry Alexander.
Americans Tired of Lawsuit Abuse, based in Alexandria, Va., has contributed $355,000 to its Washington state PAC over the past week.
The state PAC is supporting Alexander's opponent, attorney John Groen, and state Sen. Stephen Johnson, who's taking on incumbent Justice Susan Owens.
In an ad that started running Thursday in the Seattle-Tacoma TV market, Yvonne Roberts holds a picture of her 3-year-old son, Steven Collins, who was killed in 1986. The man convicted in the boy's death was released last year after a divided high court earlier held that assault could not be used as the underlying cause for a felony murder conviction.
The result invalidated felony murder convictions based on assaults from 1976 to 2003. The Legislature later restored assault as an underlying cause for a felony murder conviction, but not retroactively.
The ad criticizes Alexander, who voted with the majority in the 5-4 ruling.
"Judge Alexander is way out of touch with this issue," Roberts says in the TV ad. "I'm here supporting John Groen, because John Groen is for victims and their families."
Cari O'Malley, executive director of the national group, said her PAC was targeting about a dozen Supreme Court races in the country.
"The most overriding issue in this instance and across the country is getting rid of judges who legislate from the bench," she said.
Federal campaign-finance reports through June 30 show the main contributor to the Virginia-based parent group was the nonprofit American Tort Reform Association.
Groen also has the support of the powerful Building Industry Association of Washington, which has raised nearly $325,000 in its efforts to oust Owens and Alexander.
Lisa MacLean, a spokeswoman for a political-action committee that supports all three Supreme Court incumbents on the ballot, said the flush of money for attack ads shows the "onslaught of special interests trying to buy control of our Supreme Court."
MacLean said her group, Citizens to Uphold the Constitution, likely will answer with TV and radio ads of its own. The group has raised nearly $500,000 in contributions.
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