Groups pour in millions to shape N. Carolina high court

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Outside groups are spending millions to try to influence the political balance of North Carolina’s Supreme Court, with even Barack Obama weighing in with a rare endorsement in a state judicial contest.

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Although justices don’t officially run as Republicans or Democrats, four have their voter registration with the GOP with the remaining three with the Democrats. If Superior Court Judge Mike Morgan — who received the president’s endorsement — unseats Associate Justice Bob Edmunds next week, it would tip the balance to Democrats for the first time since 1998.

The contest occurs during highly partisan elections for president, U.S. Senate and governor in which North Carolina’s conservative political shift is a key issue. Redistricting maps and a law allowing taxpayer money for private-school scholarships were upheld by the court’s GOP majority.

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