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Testy feelings mark final days of judge campaign

By By William F. West / community editor
Nov. 3, 2002
The final days of the contest between Appeals Court Judge Jim Brantley and challenger Kenny Griffis are revealing some testy feelings.
Griffis has out-fund-raised Brantley by about 4 to 1 and the incumbent has expressed his displeasure, prompting a strong rebuttal from the challenger.
Griffis said that's Brantley opinion.
Campaign finance reports show Griffis has raised $473,182 and has spent $434,702.71 while Brantley has raised $169,365 and has spent $163,064.93.
However, Griffis said, Brantley has loaned his own campaign more than $100,000.
Griffis said he's concerned Brantley could end up being indebted to lawyers.
Griffis cited reports of a probe on the Gulf Coast into allegations that state court judges including Supreme Court Judge Oliver Diaz took out loans that were repaid by nationally prominent South Mississippi lawyers whose cases the judges handle.
Brantley, a Madison attorney and Leake County native, and Griffis, a Ridgeland attorney and Meridian native, are competing in a district that includes most of East Central Mississippi plus all of Rankin County and the southeastern part of Madison County.
Gov. Ronnie Musgrove appointed Brantley to the court last year following the retirement of Mary Libby Payne.