An examination of campaign finance records from the May primary shows the circuit judge’s race in Floyd County was the most expensive such contest in the state, with the highest spending circuit judge candidate in the state and another in the top 10 in spending.
that two candidates for the circuit judge’s seat being vacated by Judge John David Caudill were among the top 10 highest spenders in the state.
Tom Smith, who earned a chance to compete for the job in November against Ashley Tackett Laferty, spent the most of any circuit judge candidate in the state, at $119,630.72. The next highest amount, spent by Knox and Laurel Family Court judicial candidate Marilyn McGhee, was $89,313.
Laferty, by comparison, spent $22,700, including $16,294 of her own money.
Laferty and Smith were the top two vote-getters out of a field of six, setting up a runoff between the two this fall. Laferty received 4,643 votes, while Smith got 4,157.
The next-highest vote-getter, David Allen Barber, also had the eighth-highest spending among circuit judge candidates across the state. Barber spent $53,600.84 — all from his own pocket — on his way to picking up 1,966 votes.
The remaining candidates were as follows:
• C.V. Reynolds, $30,900, 1,924 votes.
• Earl “Mickey” McGuire, $46,652.81, 1,323 votes.
• J. Sam Doyle, $15,000, 692 votes.
With $288,484.28 in total spending, the Floyd circuit judge’s race was the most expensive circuit judge’s race in the state by far. Ranking second was a family court race in Kenton County, at $189,780.96.
Smith’s spending certainly contributed to that to that total. Smith spent more than the entire fields of all but three other races statewide, and spent more out of his own pocket than the entire fields in all but five other races across the state.
However, Smith’s spending is not entirely responsible for the high total. If his total spending were eliminated from the total, the Floyd circuit judge’s race would still rank second in spending statewide.
In 2013, the salary for a circuit judge in Kentucky was $124,618.