Records for campaign spending fell, attack ads blared on until Election Day, and special interest groups demanded candidates state their views on a whole range of contentious issues.

Sounds like politics as usual, doesn’t it? Except these elections weren’t for president, Congress or governor — they were to fill the bench of top state courts. A new report says that a rising swell of money, outside groups and negative campaigns is adding pressure to the yearslong debate about the best way to elect judges.