Wood raises more than Webb in October for state Supreme Court chief justice race

Wood outraises Webb in October

Arkansas Supreme Court Justices Rhonda Wood (left) and Barbara Webb are shown in these file photos taken circa 2022. (Left, courtesy photo; right, NWA Democrat-Gazette/Hank Layton)
Arkansas Supreme Court Justices Rhonda Wood (left) and Barbara Webb are shown in these file photos taken circa 2022. (Left, courtesy photo; right, NWA Democrat-Gazette/Hank Layton)


Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Wood raised more money in October than fellow state Supreme Court Justice Barbara Webb in their bids for chief justice of Arkansas, according to their latest campaign finance reports.

Wood reported raising $32,068.55 in contributions and $3,908.05 in expenses in October. Her largest contributors last month included $1,500 from Tracy Hunt of Conway, and $1,041.98 apiece from William Pack and Shelly Pack of Conway.

That increased Wood's total reported contributions to $45,925.74 and total reported expenses to $12,286.05 through Oct. 31. After factoring in her $50,000 loan to her campaign, she reported $83,639.69 in her campaign treasury at the end of October.

Webb reported raising $15,350 in contributions and $9,259.29 in expenses in October. Her largest contributors last month included Sidna Ford of Little Rock and $1,000 apiece from Arkansas Physicians Hospitals Association PAC, Steven Crowell of Magnolia, Justin Rue of Bryant, Randy Lawson of Bentonville and Chester Koprovic of Fort Smith.

That increased Webb's total contributions to $76,100 and total expenses to $11,845.72 through Oct. 31. After factoring in her $50,000 loan to her campaign, she reported $114,254.28 in her campaign treasury at the end of October.

Campaign finance reports for October for the two other candidates for chief justice, Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Karen Baker and attorney Jay Martin of North Little Rock, were not posted on the secretary of state's website as of Friday afternoon.

Candidates for state office are required to file campaign finance reports if their total contributions raised or expenditures exceeded $500. The reports for October were due Monday in the secretary of state's office or had to be postmarked by Monday.

Campaign committees of candidates for judicial office may not solicit or accept campaign contributions more than 180 days before an election, so judicial candidates could start raising funds Sept. 7 for the March 5 general election for judicial offices, according to the Arkansas Ethics Commission.

Baker, Martin, Webb and Wood are running to succeed Chief Justice Dan Kemp, starting in 2025. Kemp, who has served as the chief justice since 2017, has said he intends to retire at the end of his term in December 2024, noting that since he has passed age 70 he would have to relinquish his retirement benefits under state law if he were reelected.

In the race for Position 2 on the Arkansas Supreme Court, Justice Courtney Hudson reported raising $6,950 in contributions and expenses of $938.73 in October. Her largest contributor last month was W.H. Taylor of Fayetteville, who contributed $2,500.

That increased her total contributions to $37,880 and total expenses to $938.73, leaving $36,941.27 in her campaign treasury at the end of October.

The other candidate for Position 2 on the Supreme Court is Circuit Judge Carlton Jones of Texarkana.

"We do not plan to submit an October monthly report," said Jones' campaign manager Venesha Sasser.

Hudson and Jones are seeking election to serve the rest of term to which the late Supreme Court Justice Robin Wynne, who died in late June, was elected in the 2022 election. On July 3, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced her appointment of former U.S. Attorney and Republican Party of Arkansas Chairman Cody Hiland to the state Supreme Court to fill the vacancy created by Wynne's death until 2025.

Hudson is serving her second term on the court in Position 3. She has said seeking the Position 2 seat would allow her to serve a few more years on the court before reaching mandatory judicial retirement.

Justice Shawn Womack is unopposed for Position 5 on the state Supreme Court.

COURT OF APPEALS

In the race for Court of Appeals District 6, Position 1, attorney Molly McNulty of Little Rock reported raising $41,185 in contributions and spending $12,489.32 in October.

Her largest contributors last month included $3,300 from William McGowan of Springdale, $3,000 from John McGowan of Harrisburg, Va., and $2,000 each from Charles Yeargan and Donna Yeargan of Little Rock

That increased her total contributions to $90,840.69 and total expenses to $45,268.86 through the end of October. After factoring in her $25,000 loan to her campaign, she reported $70,571.83 in her campaign treasury at the end of October.

Attorney Pam Hathaway of Little Rock reported raising $13,335 in contributions and spending $13,664 in October. Her largest campaign contributors last month included $3,200 from David Hathaway of Little Rock and $2,000 from JD Ashley of North Little Rock.

Hathaway reported total contributions of $55,910 and total expenses of $36,811.68. After factoring in her $100,000 loan to her campaign, she reported $119,098.32 in her campaign treasury through the end of October.

The other candidate for the post, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Casey Tucker of Little Rock, didn't raise or spend any money during October, according to a spokesman for Tucker's campaign.

McNulty, Hathaway and Tucker seek the Court of Appeals District 6, Position 1 post held by Judge Rita Gruber, who is retiring.

Court of Appeals Judge Waymond Brown is unopposed for the court's District 7 position.

STATE TREASURER

State treasurer candidate John Thurston of East End, a Republican, reported raising nothing and spending $96 in October. His campaign contributions total $100 and expenses total $511.29, leaving $17,113.75 in his campaign treasury at the end of October.

On Aug. 11, Thurston reported transferring $17,524.04 from his secretary of state carryover fund to his state treasurer primary campaign in 2024. He has served as the secretary of state since 2019 and previously was the land commissioner from 2011-2019.

In August, Sanders announced the appointment of then-state Department of Finance and Administration Secretary Larry Walther as state treasurer. Walther will serve as state treasurer until January of 2025. A state treasurer will be elected in the 2024 elections to serve the final two years of the late Mark Lowery's four-year term to which he was elected in November 2022.

Democratic state treasurer candidate John Pagan of Little Rock said he didn't raise any contributions or spend any money in October. He is a former state senator who served from 1991-1993.