NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ An influx of campaign spending on three Tennessee Supreme Court seats has transformed what is traditionally a sleepy affair into a hard-fought campaign that has raised questions about the role of partisan politics in the judiciary.

Voters going to the polls in Thursday's primary election will also decide the nominees for the U.S. Senate, House, governor and a slew of state legislative candidates. But the down-ballot question about whether to retain or reject three justices originally appointed by a Democratic governor has become the subject of heavy television advertising and other campaigning.

If even one of the incumbent justices loses, their replacement would likely give Republicans control of the highest court in Tennessee, which is the only state where justices name the attorney general.