Our pick for attorney general: Ken Hodges 

Georgians deserve a take-charge pitbull with battle scars

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: After 13 years of the spineless Thurbert Baker, Georgians need an AG willing to root out public corruption, help end the water wars and not use the office to further a political agenda.

THE LOWDOWN: There was a time when Sam Olens, the well-regarded former Cobb County chairman, was viewed as just the kind of moderate Republican the state needed for higher office. Then Olens ran for attorney general and started pandering to Tea Partiers by hammering illegal immigrants and dissing federal health care reform.

Democrat Ken Hodges earned a reputation as a tough southwest Georgia district attorney by targeting corrupt public officials and trying high-profile cases, including the successful conviction of Sidney Dorsey, the former DeKalb sheriff who ordered his successor murdered. If elected, Hodges says he'd create a civil rights division to focus on discrimination crimes and push for harsher penalties for public officials who don't comply with the state Open Records Act. It bears noting that Hodges has been endorsed by most of the state's sheriffs and DAs, in addition to a bipartisan array of politicos.

Hodges isn't without controversy. He's weathered questions about his prosecution of an Albany-area doctor and accountant who aggressively criticized a nonprofit hospital's business practices. But we feel mostly satisfied with his justification of his office's conduct during those cases. Also, we believe Hodges isn't simply a hard-nosed prosecutor. He favors allowing DNA testing in questionable death penalty convictions and says he'll advocate for adequate funding of the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council.

THE OUTLOOK: Hodges has a strong South Georgia network. But Olens has name recognition and the magical "R" next to his name.

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