Campaign finance reports turned in this week
Judicial candidates on the Nov. 6 ballot in Marion County are spending a lot of money to try to win spots on the bench.
Jeff Weill Sr., a Hinds County circuit judge running for the state Court of Appeals, has raised the most: $145,655. He had spent just over $60,000 through Sept. 30, leaving more than $87,000 cash on hand, according to campaign finance reports that were due Wednesday.
David McCarty, a Jackson attorney also in the race, has brought in $124,455. He’s spent $89,451, leaving just over $35,000 in his campaign fund.
Incumbent Chief Judge Joseph Lee is not seeking re-election in the district that includes all or part of 15 counties, including Marion.
Judicial races are officially nonpartisan, but the political affiliations of judges are often common knowledge or evident in lists of donors. Weill is a former Republican member of the Jackson City Council and has the endorsement of Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, while McCarty has support from traditional Democrats, having received campaign contributions from former Democratic Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and well-known plaintiff’s attorneys like Richard Schwartz and Morris Bart.
The position pays a $144,827 salary.
A third candidate, Jackson attorney Byron Carter, has raised far less, $4,625.
Also on the upcoming ballot are two races for chancellor in Marion, Forrest, Lamar, Pearl River and Perry counties.
The most money raised in those races is Sheila Havard Smallwood. The attorney from Petal, who is the daughter of longtime Forrest County Chancery Clerk Jimmy Havard, has brought in $55,290 year to date through Sept. 30, according to her filings. Of that, $36,000 is personal loans she made to her campaign.
Her opponent, Hattiesburg attorney Bob Marshall, has brought in $18,686. That Place 3 position is elected from all five counties but requires the candidate to live in Forrest County. The incumbent, Johnnie L. Williams, is not seeking re-election.
The Place 4 position is elected from all five counties and is open to attorneys living in all five counties. The incumbent, Ronald Doleac, is also retiring.
Christopher Howdeshell of Hattiesburg leads the six candidates in fundraising. He’s brought in $20,421.
Other candidates with their year-to-date fundraising totals include:
Stacey Lea Sims Barber of Hattiesburg, $7,557
Chad Smith of Hattiesburg, $4,500
Joseph Turney of Columbia, $2,650
Harry R. Lane of Hattiesburg, $0
A sixth candidate, Vanessa Jones of Hattiesburg, did not have her latest campaign finance reports posted on the secretary of state’s website as of Thursday afternoon.
Chancellors earn a $136,000 salary, which is set by state law.