Attorneys Martha Hall and Michael Muldrew will continue their campaigns to a July 26 runoff after they emerged as the two top vote-getters Tuesday in the race to succeed Superior Court Judge John R. “Robbie” Turner.
Turner, one of three active Superior Court judges in the four-county Ogeechee Judicial Circuit, has announced his retirement for year-end. Neither Hall nor Muldrew secured more than 50 percent of the votes, but only Effingham attorney Mickey Kicklighter is out of the contest after polling third in Tuesday’s nonpartisan general election. Hall captured the majority of votes in Effingham, Jenkins and Screven counties, but Muldrew carried his home county, Bulloch, which cast more than half of the votes in the circuit.
The unofficial final tally was 6,591 votes, or 41 percent of the total, for Muldrew; 6,310 votes, or 39 percent, for Hall, and 3,181 votes, or 20 percent, for Kicklighter.
“I think what will make the difference in the end is getting out my support, the people that want to see the best person as a judge for the Ogeechee Circuit,” Muldrew said. “I’ve got a lot of passionate supporters, and I know they’re going to come out.”
Now chief assistant district attorney in the Ogeechee Circuit, Muldrew has been an assistant district attorney in the circuit since 1995 after previously working in the Atlantic Judicial Circuit.
Hall was previously an assistant district attorney, also in the Ogeechee Circuit District Attorney’s Office, for six and a half years. She is now an attorney in private practice — she and her husband and law partner, have offices in both Springfield and Statesboro — and Hall says that family law makes up 60-70 percent of what she does, while the rest is defense work.
“I’m going to stick with really what got me here so far, and that is really my passion, that is working for the benefit of our children,” Hall said. “That’s why I want the job, that’s why I went through this process, is to protect the children one case at a time. As I’ve said a hundred times, I think that I can bring some things to the table that Muldrew, just as a prosecutor, won’t know about, and won’t have a feel for.”
Obviously, Hall is seeking to appeal more to Bulloch County residents, and Muldrew to residents of the other counties, over the next two months.
“We also have to do a better job getting our message out,” Muldrew said. “I appreciate all the support I have in all four counties, and I look forward to serving the citizens of the Ogeechee Circuit come January as the next Superior Court judge.”
Said Hall: “Obviously there’s some good, well-rounded support, and I’ll just work in Bulloch County harder than I did during the initial election. I’ll just keep at it.”