by David Ramsey
Television ad contracts nearing $68,000 have been booked by a candidate in Arkansas’ Supreme Court race according to an analysis of public FCC records by Justice at Stake and the Brennan Center for Justice.
The ad contracts in the amount of $67,920 were purchased by the campaign of Justice Courtney Goodson, who is facing Circuit Judge Dan Kemp in a contest for Chief Justice. The ad takes a positive tone and focuses on her biography. According to the records, no ads have been booked yet by Judge Kemp, or by Circuit Judge Shawn Womack or attorney Clark Mason, who are competing for another open seat. Ad totals were current as of 9:45 am CT on Feb. 3. Arkansas’ Supreme Court elections are nonpartisan.
“Arkansas is still reeling from the harsh advertising that made its 2014 Supreme Court election one of the most notable in the country,” said Debra Erenberg, Director of State Affairs for Justice at Stake, a nonpartisan nonprofit that tracks judicial election spending. “There will be a lot of focus on how this race is run, and on who decides to pump money into the ad campaigns that have unfortunately become an expensive necessity for candidates in today’s judicial elections.”
“The negative and misleading ads that dominated Arkansas’s 2014 supreme court election highlight the troubling role that interest groups often play in shaping state courts,” said Alicia Bannon, senior counsel in the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice and a co-author of Bankrolling the Bench. “The big question is whether we will see a similar pattern in the 2016 election.”