The Clarion-Ledger, 10/12/8

Political action committees are spending more on advertisements for those running for the state Supreme Court than any of those actually seeking the office.

The minute Mississippi lawmakers decided a decade ago to limit individual contributions to $5,000 and corporate contributions to $1,000 “we all knew it would come to this,” said veteran political consultant Jere Nash. “We just didn’t know when.”

For the past several weeks, Chief Justice Jim Smith has been featured in television advertisements by these third parties. His campaign says it has nothing to do with these ads.

So far, Smith has raised more than $460,000 – $10,000 less than his opponent, Crystal Springs lawyer Jim Kitchens.

Until last week, Smith couldn’t afford to buy his own television ads, said Morgan Baldwin, a consultant for Smith’s campaign. “We’re struggling to fund our own campaign.”

But he hasn’t had to worry about paying to air ads that further his cause. Mississippians for Economic Progress, an organization dedicated to tort reform, is doing it for him and other candidates.