Something certainly smells about an out-of-state political action committee spending money on a Sedgwick County judicial race. The Georgia-based super PAC Safe Nation has been running a radio ad in Wichita criticizing District Court Judge Richard Ballinger and urging people to vote for his challenger, Zoe Newton, who works for businessman Wink Hartman. Why would people in Georgia care about a low-level judicial race in Wichita? They probably don’t. More likely, someone from Kansas is funneling money through a straw organization to try to avoid attention and contribution limits. Such moves have become common in national races and some statewide races. But it is particularly troublesome if the practice spreads to the election of local judges, who are supposed to be independent.
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