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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Georgia Supreme Court seat, our very freedom, to be decided in today's runoff

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Thought you fulfilled your duties to the Great State of Georgia when you pressed your finger to an unsanitized screen on Nov. 2? Not so fast, hardworking citizen! Several elected offices, most of which are judgeships, remain undecided.

Most notable: The Georgia Supreme Court Justice race between incumbent David Nahmias, a career federal prosecutor who helped send former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell and Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph to prison, and Tamela "Tammy" Adkins, a Lawrenceville family lawyer who, despite not accepting donations and maintaining a low profile, was somehow able to garner enough votes to trigger a runoff. If we lived in a hyper-political society that demands every damn election needs a storyline — or better yet, a "narrative!" — this contest would be known as "The Runoff That Should Never Have Happened."

Political observers have postulated that Adkins might have benefited from anti-incumbent sentiment and her name's placement on the ballot. According to Charles Bullock, a University of Georgia political scientist, being listed first on the ballot can earn a candidate an extra five to six percentage points. Regardless, here we are, several weeks later, and the fate of Georgia's children hangs in the balance.

Nahmias, who was appointed to the bench last year by Gov. Sonny Perdue, has been showered with endorsements from Republicans and Democrats since Nov. 2. Among the well-known names: former Mayor Shirley Franklin, Gov.-elect Nathan Deal, former Secretary of State Karen Handel, Speaker David Ralston, House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce... the list goes on and on.

Adkins, who's ramped up her campaign since Nov. 2, has earned nods from Georgia Equality, prominent lawyers and an organization that advocates for more women in elected office.

Turnout's expected to be extremely low, so your vote's even more important. Check out the candidates' websites — linked above — and peruse a voter guide. Walter Jones of Morris News and the AJC's Bill Rankin have both penned excellent rundowns about the race — check those out here and here. Some judgeships and board of education seats also remain undecided in Fulton and DeKalb counties. Blog For Democracy posted a thread that included some colorful commentary about the judicial candidates and is worth checking out.

Head to the secretary of state's website to view a sample ballot and find your polling place. And then head to the polls.

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