I happened to check today for any missed filings in the recent races for Arkansas Supreme Court in which Dan Kemp beat Associate Justice Courtney Goodson in the race for chief justice, and Shawn Womack beat Clark Mason in the race for an associate justice slot.
Only Goodson had anything on file at the secretary of state’s office since the election, but her report was interesting.
March 15, Goodson filed an updated financial report that showed she loaned an additional $175,000 to her campaign in the final nine days of the race, bringing her total loans to $641,000.
Through March 15, she’d spent $976,960 and raised $351,404 in contributions and had $15,444 cash on hand. In other words, unless some money pours in post-election, she’ll eat that debt.
Her contributions in the final days of the race, between Feb. 22 and 29, included $35,000 in the form of contributions ranging from $1,150 to $2,700 from 17 Pennsylvania lawyers or their spouses — the lawyers associated with the Kessler Topaz law firm. That firm, known for class action work, has been mentioned here and in other news accounts for its spending on various Arkansas Supreme Court races over the years. It is also the firm recommended by Courtney Goodson’s husband, John Goodson, for hiring by Auditor Andrea Lea to handle a lawsuit in which the state is seeking to convert to its own use unclaimed U.S. savings bonds.
Goodson is to testify Wednesday before a Joint Judiciary Committee meeting to discuss election vs. appointment of judges and about legislation to require disclosure of contributors to ad campaigns for and against judges. Dark money was spent heavily against Goodson, though she also benefited from undisclosed financiers behind NRA communications in her behalf. She’s expected to continue to support election of judges. She probably could gain some political ground lost in her campaign (though not erase memories of the TV ads against her over her ties to class action law firms and lavish gifts) by expressing her belief in the wisdom of the voters on judicial election even when it runs counter to her own self-interest.