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D.C.-based group spends thousands in Cole Co. judge race

While voters near the state’s capital face 18 different decisions in Cole County, a group from the nation’s capital is spending thousands of dollars on one.

Monday marked the final reports from groups contributing to campaigns in the November election. The Republican State Leadership Committee spent more than $170,000 to oppose Judge Patricia Joyce in Cole County Circuit Court District 4 race. Joyce is seeking re-election against Brian Stumpe, the Jefferson City prosecutor.

Jill Bader, communications director at the RSLC, said the groups’ activity is part of the Judicial Fairness Initiative, launched in the spring. The group, which usually supports Republican and conservative candidates for office, wanted to support those running for state court positions because of the lack of information voters have when making those decisions.

Bader said the RSLC is also supporting judicial candidates in Montana and Illinois. In the Montana Supreme Court race, challenger Lawrence VanDyke has double the amount of money incumbent Michael Wheat has, boosted by money from the RSLC.

Roy Temple, chairman of the Missouri Democratic Party, called the group’s spending in Cole County “outrageous.”

“Judge Joyce has served with distinction and it is our hope that Cole County voters will reject this smear by secretive out-of-state interests and recognize it for what it is, a desperate attempt to install their hand-picked favorite Brian Stumpe to the bench,” Temple said in a written statement.

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