Election challenge filed in appellate court race

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A candidate for a state appellate court seat is calling foul over her apparent loss in the recent race.

Judge Ceola James, who currently serves on the Court of Appeals, this afternoon filed an election contest in Warren County Circuit Court after her loss to Latrice Westbrooks, a municipal court judge in Lexington.

According to unofficial tallies, Westbrooks received 57 percent of the vote to James’ 43 percent.

James’ petition states that Westbrooks aligned herself with Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson, which James says violates state rules mandating judicial campaigns to remain nonpartisan.

Specifically, James says Westbrooks appeared at several events with Thompson and included the congressman’s photo on her campaign materials.

The Mississippi Supreme Court appointed Senior Status Judge Stephen B. Simpson of Gulfport as a special judge to preside over the case.