The Kentucky Judicial Campaign Conduct Committee is pleased to announce that
24 of the 26 candidates seeking office in the judicial elections on Nov. 3 have signed a pledge to run fair and dignified campaigns. They have signed a pledge to disavow false or misleading advertising and other campaign tactics that “impugn the integrity of the judicial system, the integrity of a candidate, or erode public trust and confidence in the independence and impartiality of the judiciary.”
Elections will be held for the state Supreme Court seat from most of Eastern Kentucky, a circuit judgeship in Calloway and Marshall counties, and a district judgeship in Jefferson County.
Candidates may sign the agreement at any time. Those who have signed are:
7th Supreme Court District (Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Elliott, Floyd, Greenup, Harlan, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Powell, Rowan, and Wolfe counties): Janet Stumbo
42nd Judicial Circuit: Jeff Edwards, Randall Hutchens and Jamie Jameson
30th Judicial District, Division 4:
Andre L. Bergeron
Josephine L. Buckner
Dennis C. Burke
R. A. Florio
James M. Green
L. J. (Todd) Hollenbach IV
Ellie Garcia Kerstetter
C. Fred Partin
J. P. Ward
Benjamin F. Wyman
Although Canon 5 of the Kentucky Code of Judicial Conduct sets a baseline for campaign conduct, the Committee believes candidates should strive to a level of conduct that reflects the dignity of the judicial office.
Many of the tactics in partisan elections are inappropriate in non-partisan judicial campaigns and undermine the integrity of the judicial system. Kentucky’s courts rely on public confidence and support to maintain their legitimacy, and misleading campaigning destroys the basis of the judicial authority that helps hold our society together.
The nonpartisan, nonprofit Kentucky Judicial Campaign Conduct Committee has no official authority, but each election year it offers a campaign agreement for all judicial candidates to sign. It may also make a public statement when it believes a candidate is campaigning inappropriately.
The agreement’s preface says, “The actions of candidates for judicial office affect the integrity and independence of our judicial system, reflecting on both the Kentucky judicial system and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Therefore, it is important that judicial election campaigns be conducted in such a way that enhances the candidate’s reputation, brings credit to the individual, and reflects the dignity and integrity of judicial office and the independence of the judiciary.”
By signing the pledge, candidates show a commitment to the decorum of the office they wish to hold. The Committee hopes that this agreement will encourage appropriate campaign practices that are more appealing and engaging to voters throughout the Commonwealth.
Anyone who believes a judicial candidate is not campaigning appropriately may send the Committee a complaint in writing, preferably by email to Committee Chair Charles Boteler at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Committee discourages anonymous complaints and is much less likely to act on such complaints.