Four seats on the Mississippi Supreme Court were up for election in 2008. Attorney Jim Kitchens defeated Chief Justice James Smith and another challenger, Ceola James, to win the Court’s high seat. Two other incumbents, Justices Oliver Diaz and Charles Easley, were defeated by Judges Bubba Pierce and David Chandler, respectively. Incumbent Justice Ann Lamar successfully won reelection to her seat after being challenged by attorney Gene Barton.
Spending on judicial campaign ads doubled in Mississippi from 2004 to 2008, rising from just over $600,000 to nearly $1.3 million. The Law Enforcement Alliance of America ran a particularly nasty ad attacking Justice Oliver Diaz. The ad accused Diaz of “voting for” convicted killer and rapists in three separate cases. After over a week on the air, the state’s Special Committee on Judicial Election Campaign Intervention denounced the ad in a public statement released on October 29, 2008. Several stations pulled the ad, though not all stopped running it.
September 22, 2008 – MSEP Smith Tort Reform
The Mississippians for Economic Progress support Chief Justice Jim Smith, in this ad.
October 6, 2008 – Smith Measure Man’s Character
In this ad, Chief Justice Jim Smith touts his values and character.
October 6, 2008 – Stoplams Smith Serving Mississippi
STOP Lawsuit Abuse in Mississippi supports Chief Justice Jim Smith, in this ad.
October 13, 2008 – Kitchens Blessed 60
October 13, 2008 – Smith Record of Integrity
This ad by Jim Smith says he has a record of integrity and high ethical standards.
October 20, 2008 – Smith Rated Efficient
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Justice Jim Smith’s campaign talks about his accomplishments on the court, in this ad.
October 21, 2008 – LEAA Diaz Protect Our Families
This ad by the Law Enforcement Alliance of America says Justice Diaz protects criminals, not Mississippi families.
October 27, 2008 – Chandler Man of Character
This ad by David Chandler’s campaign describes him as a man of character.
October 27, 2008 – Smith Protecting Children
This ad tells viewers Justice Smith has been awarded for his work protecting children, and that he’ll continue to protect our future.
October 29, 2008 – Kitchens Out of My Kitchen
Wife Mary Kitchens pleads with viewers to take Jim Kitchens out of her kitchen by electing him to the court.
October 30, 2008 – Kitchens Blessed
This ad by Jim Kitchens describes his family and experience.