The late Friday announcement from Governor Brian Kemp regarding the appointment of Joseph Cushner, Bulloch County Solicitor-General to replace retired State Court Judge Gary Mikell has created a flurry of interest in filling the Bulloch County Solicitor-General Position.
Because of the timing of the appointment by Governor Kemp, coupled with the fact that the State Court position is non-partisan, Joseph’s appointment will continue through 2022. He will not have to qualify or run in the upcoming election.
I reached out to Candice Broce, Director of Communications and Deputy Executive Counsel for Governor Kemp’s office and local legal scholars to determine the path forward for the Solicitor-General position.
Broce’s reply stated, “We will decline to comment, we’ll release more details at the appropriate time.”
The legal scholar’s opinion is based on Georgia Code Section 15-18-70.1, which states in the event of resignation or death of the Solicitor-General the assistant solicitor general will automatically become the acting Solicitor-General.
According to this, with Joseph Cushner’s resignation in accepting the State Court Judge appointment, Mark Lanier, the Assistant Solicitor-General, will assume the role of Acting Solicitor-General until the Governor makes an appointment or holds an election. This will not occur Cushner has been officially sworn in by Governor Kemp. We do not know when or if that date has been determined.
However, Governor Kemp still has the option to make an appointment between May 3rd and May 18th, 2020 which would void the election and that appointee would not stand for election for two years.
Unlike the State Court Judge position, the Solicitor-General position is a partisan position. Anyone interested in running for this position would be required to qualify for election the week of March 2 through March 6th.
Bulloch County’s primary election will be held on May 19th. If all candidates run in the same party, the election will be effectively decided on May 19th. If candidates from multiple parties qualify, the winners of the May 19th election will compete in the General Election on November 3rd. The winner of the (primary or general) election will be sworn in officially early January 2021.
Currently, three local attorneys have officially announced their candidacy for Solicitor General including:
- Ben Edwards, Assistant District Attorney
- Catherine Sumner Findley, Assistant District Attorney
- Mark Lanier, acting Solicitor General
All three of these candidates will be running on the republican ticket.
We will have three separate stories that will include their official announcements and more information on each candidate.
This will be a busy week of announcements with qualifying only a few weeks away.
All countywide elected offices are up for election this year to four-year terms, these include:
(In addition to the Solicitor-General of the State Court)
- Ogeechee Circuit District Attorney – Richard Mallard, Incumbent
- Bulloch County Sheriff – Noel Brown, Incumbent. Rey Rodriquez and Keith Howard have also announced intentions to run.
- Bulloch County Clerk of Courts – Heather Banks McNeal, Incumbent
- Bulloch County Tax Commissioner – James Deal, Incumbent
- Bulloch County Coroner – Jake Futch, Incumbent. Michelle Fiorelli-Rupar and Jonathan Paine have announced intentions to run.
- Bulloch County Surveyor, James Anderson, Incumbent.
- County commission Chair – Roy Thompson, Incumbent
- Bulloch County Commission 1A – Ray Mosley, Incumbent
- Bulloch County Commission 2A – Curt Deal, Incumbent
- Bulloch County Commission 2C – Jappy Stringer, Incumbent
- Bulloch County Probate Court judge – Lorna Deloach, Incumbent
- Bulloch County Magistrate Court judge – June Braswell, Incumbent
- Bulloch County Board of Education District 1 – Cheri Wagner, Incumbent
- Bulloch County Board of Education District 3 – Dr. Stuart Tedders, Incumbent
- Bulloch County Board of Education District 7 – Heather Mims
- Bulloch County Board of Education District 8 – Maurice Hill