Like state appellate court judges in Maryland, state Supreme Court justices in Tennessee periodically face retention elections. But the three Volunteer State justices on the ballot had an unusual challenge on their way to winning Thursday: a well-financed opposition spearheaded by the lieutenant governor.
A total of $1.4 million was spent by both sides during the campaign, with the justices’ supporters actually spending more on television ads.
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, a Republican, has criticized the justices as being “soft on crime and too liberal.” Ramsey’s political action committee donated $400,000 to the cause.
Ramsey congratulated the justices on their victories, according to The Tennesseean, and then proceeded to explain how his loss was actually a win:
For the first time in decades, we had a real election for the Supreme Court. Our Supreme Court justices traveled the state of Tennessee this summer meeting Tennesseans and learning things about our state that you can’t find in any law book. Because of that, more Tennesseans than ever know the names of our Supreme Court justices and are aware they have a role in deciding who sits on the high court.