The Judicial Crisis Network, a right-wing advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., continues to spend big to back David Sterling and take down incumbent Associate Justice Courtney Goodson in a race for the Arkansas Supreme Court. The Goodson campaign states in a press release issued last night that it learned yesterday that the group has purchased more than $700,000 of television advertising in the Little Rock market and more than $500,000 in northwest Arkansas, on top of previous ad buys.
State Court of Appeals Judge Kenneth Hixson is also running in the race and has been critical of the dark money attacks, including creepy push polls that have targeted him as well as Goodson. He told the D-G: “Over the past couple of weeks, special interest dark money has flooded the airwaves, dredging up things about Justice [Courtney] Goodson and distorting my record as a judge through anonymous and unethical phone calls.”
Another outside group, the D.C.-based Republican State Leadership Committee, recently splurged on $200,000 of advertising backing Sterling, a right-wing extremist who is currently an attorney for the Department of Human Services.
Sterling, natch, says he doesn’t know anything about it.
Statement from Goodson from her campaign’s press release on the new Judicial Crisis Network spending:
This is an unprecedented amount of dark money to be spent in a judicial race. This brings the total of false advertising, that this shadow organization is spending, to over $1.5 million to buy a Justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court.
I am shocked that this amount of money would be spent. I do not know who they are trying to buy, but it is obvious that I am not for sale. My campaign does not have the money to refute this overwhelming false advertising push so my only hope is to depend on the people of Arkansas to see through this manipulative tactic and not be fooled. I encourage people to go the Arkansas Ethics Commission website and search for reprimands or fines against me or my campaign. I assure you there are none.
Readers of the blog will recall that the Judicial Crisis Network has already made a footprint in Arkansas. In 2016, the group — a well-funded political nonprofit devoted to trying to advance a right-wing agenda through the state and federal judiciary (and via elections for attorneys general) — poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into TV ads and direct mail opposing Goodson in her campaign for Chief Justice. That was the most expensive judicial race in the state’s history; Goodson lost but retained her position as associate justice and is running for re-election. This year’s race will no doubt top the record as the money pours in. The Judicial Crisis Network also took the side of Sterling with big ad buys in the 2014 attorney general’s race.