With the October campaign finance deadline behind them, the race for 16th Circuit judge, place 3, has two clear fundraising frontrunners.
According to campaign finance reports, Michelle Easterling has raked in $45,213 to date. Her next closest competitor, Trina Davidson Brooks, has raised $42,709.
The two candidates represent half the field running for circuit judge, place 3, from which candidates hail from Clay or Noxubee counties. Fundraising for both far outpaces their other opponents, Mark Cliett, who has raised $17,750; and Bennie Jones, who has raised $11,146.
The most recent numbers are according to campaign finance reports the candidates were required to file by Monday. In these reports, candidates must itemize donations and expenditures of $200 or more.
Circuit judges are elected every four years and the elections are nonpartisan. This year’s election is Nov. 8.
Circuit judges handle all criminal cases, as well as civil cases where the dollar amount involved is more than $200,000. They also qualify juries in both criminal and civil cases.
Although elected out of specific counties, the judges hear cases in Lowndes, Oktibbeha, Clay and Noxubee counties, and voters throughout the 16th Circuit can cast ballots for all three places.
In the reporting period ending Oct. 10, which covers the period July 1 through Sept. 1, Easterling reported $18,818 in donations, $12,950 of which were itemized.
Donations included $1,500 from Mark G. Williamson; $1,000 each from Katherine Kerby, Charles Thomas II, Monte Brasfield and William Gillespie; $500 each from John Bean, Allegro Family Clinic, William R. Sugg, Jr., David Palmer, Charles Rigdon, Danny King, Michael Dunlop, James Helveston, Robert Marshall Jr. and Leigh Jensen; $350 from Brown and Langston PLLC; $300 each from Frank Chiles Insurance Agency and Karen Overstreet; $250 each from Forrest Allgood, Diane Powell, Brandt Galloway, James A. Hurt, A.M. Edwards III and Katie McCrary.
In the report filed in July, which covers the period June 1 through June 30, Easterling reported raising $4,597, of which $3,500 was itemized. Thomas Easterling donated $2,500; Joseph Williams donated $500; and Michael Buehler and Bill Russell both donated $250.
Over the two periods, Easterling spent $22,148. Most of the expenditures were for campaign materials and rent. She reported having $4,517 cash on hand.
Davidson-Brooks reported on Oct. 10 that she had received $13,140 in the reporting period, of which $10,050 was itemized.
Contributions included $2,000 from Barbara Singh; $1,500 out of her own pocket; $1,500 from Mary Davidson; $1,000 each from Tina Rogers, Richard Scruggs and Natalie White; $500 each from Derese Brand, Smith AC and Heating and Janice Matthews; $300 from Kegdra Gray; and $250 from George Ready.
Davidson-Brooks, in a report filed in July, reported $625 in contributions, all of which were non-itemized.
She reported a total of $10,214 in expenditures over both reporting periods.
Davidson-Brooks has $24,906 in cash on hand.
According to Mark Cliett’s October report, he raised $5,250 during that period, of which $5,000 was itemized.
Cliett put in $4,500 of his own money, as well as $500 from Starks Law Firm.
Cliett, according to paperwork filed in July, raised a total of $9,700, of which $9,100 was itemized. Cliett kicked in $5,600 of his own money. He also got $1,500 from Joseph Marshall; $1,000 from Frank McRae; and $500 each from Danny King and Real Estate Closing Service.
Over the same period, he reported $7,505 in expenditures, all of which were itemized.
His total expenditures over both periods came to $8,444.
Cliett reported having a total of $1,840 cash on hand.
Jones’ report Jones filed in October showed $6,800 in contributions, including a $4,000 self-contribution; $1,200 from George Richter-Addo; $1,000 from Linda Hampton Crawley; a total of $450 from Willie James Jones; $350 from Aafram Sellers; and $250 from OnTrac Security.
His report filed in July showed $1,374 in contributions, with $1,268 coming out of his own pocket.
Jones reported $17,731 in expenditures over both reporting periods.
He reports a total of $1,071 cash on hand.
Place 1 race
Incumbent Jim Kitchens is facing off against challenger Chuck Easley for the place 1 circuit judgeship, where candidates live in Lowndes County.
An Oct. 7 report, shows Kitchens raising a total of $12,949.99 during that reporting period, of which $8,300 was itemized.
The largest donor was the Mississippi Physician PAC, which gave $2,500. Other donations included The Elliott Agency and The Vollor Law Firm, both of which donated $1,000; Mark G. Alexander, Michael E. Dunlap, Robin Foster and Milton O. Sundbeck, Jr. each gave $500; Katherine and James Easley gave $300; and Forrest Allgood, Greta Bryan, Dolph Bryan and Jack Forbus Insurance Agency all gave $250.
According to a campaign finance report filed July 6, Kitchens raised a total of $500 up to that point, $300 of which was itemized.
The $300 in itemized contributions came entirely from a donation by Kevin Wright.
Kitchens reported a total of $3,236 in expenditures.
Kitchens reported cash on hand of $12,934.
In a report filed for the July reporting period, Easley reported $1,000 in total contributions, all of which came from his own pocket.
A report filed in October showed zero additional dollars of contributions and no further expenditures. He reported spending a total of $302 over both reporting periods.
Easley reported having zero cash on hand by the end of the most recent filing period.
Lee “Jay” Howard, son of retiring Judge Lee Howard, is the sole candidate for the place 2 judge seat, where candidates must hail from Oktibbeha County, and therefore has not filed campaign finance reports.
Brian Jones is the local government reporter for Columbus and Lowndes County.
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