2012 Iowa Supreme Court Retention Vote Drew More Than $800,000 In Spending

FILE - In this Sept. 24 2012, file photo a supporter looks on during a news conference by the Iowa State Bar Association in Des Moines, Iowa. The group was kicking off a bus tour to counter a bus tour by Iowans for Freedom that is trying to convince Iowans to vote Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins off the bench in November. Wiggins retention has become one of the most fiercely contested judicial issues on the Nov. 6 ballot because of what he symbolizes in the debate over gay marriage. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

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By Richard Pratt

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A new report says activist organizations spent $833,000 in Iowa last year trying to influence voters deciding whether to keep an Iowa Supreme Court judge.

The Des Moines Register reports the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice, the National Institute on Money in State Politics, and Justice at Stake have released research into outside influence in judicial elections.

The organizations conclude judge retention votes are now a lasting battleground between political factions.

Despite negative ads last year, voters kept Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins on the bench. He was one of the justices to rule in 2009 that the Iowa Constitution makes it unlawful to block same-sex couples from marrying.

Three other justices were voted out in 2010 when $1.4 million was spent on influencing voters that year.

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