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State of Alabama

Judicial Campaigns and Elections: Alabama

Campaign Financing

The issue that has come to define the politics of judicial selection in Alabama is tort reform. In the early 1980s, Alabama juries began awarding punitive damages that were substantially larger than those seen in most other states, earning Alabama the moniker "Tort Hell." In 1987, the legislature passed a broad tort-reform package, most of the major provisions of which were subsequently struck down by the Alabama Supreme Court. Contests for seats on the supreme court became a battle between those who supported and opposed tort reform. In recent years, the primary source of campaign funds for supreme court candidates has been PACs associated with the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association and the Business Council of Alabama.

As in several other states, the cost of judicial campaigns has skyrocketed in Alabama in recent years. Since 1993, candidates for seats on Alabama's supreme court have raised more than $58 million. The 2006 elections saw the most expensive judicial race in state history and the second most expensive in U.S. history, with candidates for the chief justiceship raising $8.2 million.

Other than a $500 limit on contributions from corporations, Alabama imposes no limits on campaign contributions to judicial candidates.

See below for National Institute on Money in State Politics data on contributions to state high court candidates.

Amounts raised by each candidate at the most recent election cycle:

BOLIN, MICHAEL F
Office: SUPREME COURT
District: SW BOLIN SEAT
Party: REPUBLICAN
Status: Not Up For Election
Total Amount Raised: $955
Number of Sectors: 0
NameAmount
Non-Contributions$955
MURDOCK, GLENN
Office: SUPREME COURT
District: SW MURDOCK SEAT
Party: REPUBLICAN
Status: Won
Total Amount Raised: $70,973
Number of Sectors: 0
NameAmount
Construction$2750
Finance, Insurance & Real Estate$14000
General Business$17725
Health$2500
Government Agencies/Education/Other$1000
Lawyers & Lobbyists$20800
Uncoded$12075
Candidate Contributions$123
PARKER, TOM
Office: SUPREME COURT
District: SW PARKER SEAT
Party: REPUBLICAN
Status: Not Up For Election
Total Amount Raised: $13,000
Number of Sectors: 0
NameAmount
Lawyers & Lobbyists$38000
Uncoded$-25000
SHAW, GREG
Office: SUPREME COURT
District: SW SHAW SEAT
Party: REPUBLICAN
Status: Not Up For Election
Total Amount Raised: $0
Number of Sectors: 0
STUART, LYN
Office: SUPREME COURT
District: SW STUART SEAT
Party: REPUBLICAN
Status: Won
Total Amount Raised: $54,165
Number of Sectors: 0
NameAmount
Construction$750
Finance, Insurance & Real Estate$12000
General Business$20500
Government Agencies/Education/Other$500
Lawyers & Lobbyists$12550
Transportation$5000
Uncoded$2988
Candidate Contributions$-123
WOODALL, THOMAS A
Office: SUPREME COURT
District: SW WOODALL SEAT
Party: REPUBLICAN
Status: Not Up For Election
Total Amount Raised: $7
Number of Sectors: 0
NameAmount
Non-Contributions$7
MALONE, CHARLES R
Office: SUPREME COURT
District: SW CHIEF JUSTICE
Party: REPUBLICAN
Status: Lost - Primary Election
Total Amount Raised: $728,861
Number of Sectors: 0
NameAmount
Agriculture$40397
Construction$36250
Communications & Electronics$250
Energy & Natural Resources$2500
Finance, Insurance & Real Estate$54700
General Business$121199
Health$32750
Government Agencies/Education/Other$4900
Ideology/Single Issue$11000
Lawyers & Lobbyists$272650
Transportation$42100
Uncoded$106565
Candidate Contributions$3600
WISE, KELLI
Office: SUPREME COURT
District: SW WISE SEAT
Party: REPUBLICAN
Status: Not Up For Election
Total Amount Raised: $10,438
Number of Sectors: 0
NameAmount
Non-Contributions$10438
MAIN, JAMES ALLEN
Office: SUPREME COURT
District: SW MAIN SEAT
Party: REPUBLICAN
Status: Won
Total Amount Raised: $86,606
Number of Sectors: 0
NameAmount
Agriculture$950
Construction$1101
Energy & Natural Resources$1000
Finance, Insurance & Real Estate$15100
General Business$13500
Health$6500
Government Agencies/Education/Other$350
Lawyers & Lobbyists$14250
Transportation$12100
Uncoded$21555
Candidate Contributions$200
BRYAN, TOMMY
Office: SUPREME COURT
District: SW OPEN SEAT
Party: REPUBLICAN
Status: Won
Total Amount Raised: $435,479
Number of Sectors: 0
NameAmount
Agriculture$78551
Construction$12298
Energy & Natural Resources$10000
Finance, Insurance & Real Estate$82500
General Business$84500
Health$36000
Government Agencies/Education/Other$1200
Lawyers & Lobbyists$78400
Transportation$43000
Uncoded$4275
Unitemized Contributions$35
Candidate Contributions$4720
JONES, DEBRA H
Office: SUPREME COURT
District: SW OPEN SEAT
Party: REPUBLICAN
Status: Lost - Primary Election
Total Amount Raised: $14,216
Number of Sectors: 0
NameAmount
Lawyers & Lobbyists$250
Uncoded$8674
Unitemized Contributions$1793
Candidate Contributions$3500
GRADDICK, CHARLIE
Office: SUPREME COURT
District: SW CHIEF JUSTICE
Party: REPUBLICAN
Status: Lost - Primary Election
Total Amount Raised: $830,731
Number of Sectors: 0
NameAmount
Agriculture$43250
Construction$400
Energy & Natural Resources$10000
Finance, Insurance & Real Estate$44000
General Business$49425
Health$350
Government Agencies/Education/Other$7350
Ideology/Single Issue$187075
Lawyers & Lobbyists$228715
Labor$118500
Transportation$5500
Uncoded$207544
Unitemized Contributions$780
Candidate Contributions$-72234
Non-Contributions$76
MOORE, ROY
Office: SUPREME COURT
District: SW CHIEF JUSTICE
Party: REPUBLICAN
Status: Won
Total Amount Raised: $651,416
Number of Sectors: 0
NameAmount
Agriculture$50000
Construction$25000
Communications & Electronics$3000
Energy & Natural Resources$51000
Finance, Insurance & Real Estate$55500
General Business$500
Health$485
Government Agencies/Education/Other$5670
Lawyers & Lobbyists$180150
Uncoded$229612
Party$4750
Unitemized Contributions$32989
Candidate Contributions$12760
MADDOX, MELINDA LEE
Office: SUPREME COURT
District: SW CHIEF JUSTICE
Party: INDEPENDENT
Status: Lost - Primary Election
Total Amount Raised: $0
Number of Sectors: 0
VANCE, ROBERT S
Office: SUPREME COURT
District: SW CHIEF JUSTICE
Party: DEMOCRAT
Status: Lost - General Election
Total Amount Raised: $1,189,760
Number of Sectors: 0
NameAmount
Agriculture$6000
Construction$18750
Communications & Electronics$400
Energy & Natural Resources$22000
Finance, Insurance & Real Estate$41850
General Business$65800
Health$17500
Government Agencies/Education/Other$1860
Ideology/Single Issue$17500
Lawyers & Lobbyists$195225
Labor$168000
Transportation$6500
Uncoded$329255
Party$22500
Unitemized Contributions$800
Candidate Contributions$241820
Non-Contributions$34000