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.


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Ryan L. Nave, a native of University City, Mo., served as Mississippi Today's editor-in-chief from May 2018 until April 2020. Ryan began his career with Mississippi Today February 2016 as an original member of the editorial team. He became news editor August 2016. Ryan has a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked for Illinois Times and served as news editor for the Jackson Free Press.