JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi has three contested races for Supreme Court and two for the Court of Appeals this year.
One other Supreme Court justice and two Court of Appeals judges are running unopposed.
Friday was candidates' qualifying deadline for nonpartisan judicial positions. The election is Nov. 8, and runoffs, if needed, will be Nov. 29.
Justices are elected from three districts: 1 is in the central part of the state, 2 is in the south and 3 is in the north. Three justices are elected from each district on a rotating basis, so not all seats are being filled this year.
Justices serve eight-year terms. The candidates:
— District 1, place 3: Justice Jim Kitchens of Crystal Springs, who was elected to the Supreme Court 2008, is challenged by Judge Kenny Griffis of Ridgeland, who was elected to the Court of Appeals in 2002. This could turn into the biggest-spending race of the year as business groups try to unseat Kitchens.
— District 2, place 2: Justice Dawn Beam of Sumrall is challenged by Michael T. Shareef of McComb. Beam was a chancery judge in Forrest, Lamar, Marion, Pearl River and Perry counties. She joined the Supreme Court in February after Gov. Phil Bryant appointed her to succeed former Justice Randy Pierce, who stepped down to become director of the Mississippi Judicial College. Shareef has worked for the Mississippi Center for Legal Services and is a former McComb municipal judge.
— District 3, place 1: This is an open seat because current Justice Ann Lamar of Senatobia is not seeking re-election. Four candidates are running: John Brady of Columbus is an attorney in private practice; Circuit Judge Bobby Chamberlin of Hernando has been on the bench since 2004 in a district covering DeSoto, Panola, Tallahatchie, Tate and Yalobusha counties; Steve Crampton of Tupelo has been an attorney for Christian legal groups including Liberty Counsel and the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy; and Circuit Judge James T. "Jim" Kitchens of Caledonia has been on the bench since 2003 in a district covering Clay, Oktibbeha, Lowndes and Noxubee counties.
— District 3, place 2: Justice Jimmy Maxwell is unopposed. He served on the Court of Appeals from 2009 until Bryant appointed him to the Supreme Court in January to succeed former Justice David Chandler, who stepped down to direct the foster-care system.
COURT OF APPEALS
The Court of Appeals has five districts: 1 is in the north, 2 includes the Delta and parts of metro Jackson, 3 stretches from the Jackson suburbs up to the Golden Triangle, 4 goes from the southwest into the Jackson area and 5 stretches from the Hattiesburg area down to the Gulf Coast. Two judges are elected from each district on a rotating basis, so not all seats are being filled this year.
Court of Appeals judges serve eight-year terms. The candidates:
— District 1, place 1: Judge Jim M. Greenlee of Oxford is unopposed.
— District 2, place 2: Judge Ceola James of Vicksburg is seeking a second term. She is challenged by attorney Latrice Westbrooks of Jackson.
— District 3, place 1: Judge Jack Wilson of Madison was appointed to the Court of Appeals by Bryant in mid-2015. Wilson is challenged by Ed Hannan of Madison of Madison, who has been a Madison County judge since 2006; and attorney Dow Yoder of Ridgeland.
— District 5, place 2: Judge David Ishee of Gulfport has served on the Court of Appeals since 2004. He is unopposed.
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