State law requires candidates to run without party labels, and the state Code of Judicial Conduct prohibits judicial candidates from making specific promises about how they would decide cases. However, but nothing stops political parties and politicians from exercising their First Amendment rights by choosing favorites.
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant has been out campaigning for judicial candidates this year, including two he appointed to the bench – Supreme Court Justice Dawn Beam of Sumrall and Court of Appeals Judge Jack Wilson of Madison.
The state Republican Party central committee announced in August that is it endorsing Beam and Kenny Griffis of Ridgeland in separate Supreme Court races and Wilson for Court of Appeals.
The state Democratic Party is not endorsing judicial candidates, chairman Bobby Moak said Friday. However, he said the man whom Griffis is trying to unseat, Justice Jim Kitchens of Crystal Springs, is likely to draw strong support from the party faithful.