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Meet the youngest D.A. in Georgia

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Baldwin County still purple

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Baldwin County’s next district attorney will be the youngest in Georgia.

Wright Barksdale, 33, picked up an emphatic victory last week in the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit’s Republican primary election, garnering more than 80 percent of the vote.

No candidate previously qualified on the Democratic side, meaning that Barksdale will run unopposed in November and be sworn in in January.

The other candidate, Carl Cansino, lost each of the eight counties in the circuit, including Baldwin, which is Cansino’s home county. However, the consolation prize for Cansino is not bad. Cansino can now return to being one of the most well-paid and sought-after defense lawyers in Milledgeville.

Barksdale, currently an assistant district attorney in this circuit, is a Washington County native who’s now living in Jones County. During the campaign, Barksdale emerged as the “tough on crime” candidate, while Cansino was more of the reform candidate. During a candidate forum in May, Barksdale said that he was “frustrated” by recent criminal justice reforms in Georgia and reduced sentences for drug dealers. “We’ll get a 10-year

“We’ll get a 10-year prison sentence on a drug dealer, and…they serve a year-and-a-half or two years of it, and then they come back out and do it again,” he said. “I don’t think that people understood the ramifications (of criminal justice reforms), but…people are being victimized who should not be victimized, because that criminal should be in prison.”

During the same candidate forum, Barksdale suggested expanding death penalty cases in the district, adding that he would consider the death penalty in deadly home invasion cases, which currently isn’t the norm.

Barksdale currently works out of the circuit’s Eatonton office and is the lead prosecutor in both Putnam and Hancock counties.

Very purple

There were 20-something percent more Democratic ballots recorded than Republican ballots in Baldwin County during last week’s primary election. For example, Donald

For example, Donald Trump received 3,413 votes in Baldwin County, while a total of 4,188 locals voted on the Democratic side, led by Joe Biden with 3,703 votes.

Some of this can be attributed to the different contests and the fact that Democratic voters had more to choose from. Included on the Democratic ballot was a contested United States Senate race and a contested District 145 state house race. On the Republican side, meanwhile, David Perdue and Rick Williams were running unopposed for these seats.

Something similar occurred in Baldwin County during the 2016 primary, when there also were roughly 20 percent more Democratic ballots recorded than Republican ballots. During that year’s November general election, however, Page 4A the Republican and Democrat votes were roughly split, with Hillary Clinton receiving 7,965 votes and Donald Trump 7,691.

”Howell” he do this time?

Quentin T. Howell certainly is hoping that the third time is the charm. Howell cruised to victory on the Democratic side of the District 145 House of Representatives race, garnering 73 percent of the preliminary vote.

Howell will now challenge Republican incumbent Rick Williams in the November general election. Howell first ran for the District 145 seat in 2010, falling to Rusty Kidd by a vote of 6,285–4,778. Howell again ran against Kidd two years later, this time losing in a much tighter 8,036–7,477 vote.

District 145, which covers all of Baldwin County and three precincts in south Putnam County, is a very purple district. A total of 4,963 Republicans voted for Williams last week, while a total of 5,280 Democrats voted for either Howell or his opponent, Nincoe Byrd.

Byrd, a Putnam County native, lost decisively in Baldwin County, while also losing her home county by more than a 2-to-1 margin. In the week before the election, Byrd adopted a very bold campaign strategy, when she began an online petition calling for an investigation into “a racist cover up” against “evil doers” in COM Baldwin County. Byrd was referring to the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office and the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office, who Byrd accused of covering up an October 2017 murder on Ga. 212. In the end, however, the campaign tactic apparently had very little impact.

More Democrats vote for Solicitor General

Hoganne Harrison Walton was the leading vote-getter in last week’s Solicitor General primary. Walton, the Democrat, received 3,896 votes, at last count, while Republican incumbent Skye Gess tallied 3,442. The two women will now face off against each other in November’s general election.

Gess has been the interim solicitor general since December 2018, and she was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp following the death of longtime solicitor general Maxine Blackwell.

The rundown

Here are the other unofficial results from last week’s primary election in Baldwin County, with several absentee ballots still waiting to be counted. Lake Oconee New

Lake Oconee New • ESLOST Renewal – 5,800 “yes” votes and 1,837 “no” votes

• Clerk of Superior Courts – Mitch Longino MMEN (D, I) recorded 3,972 votes. He will run unopposed in November.

• Surveyor – James E. Smith, Jr. (R, I) recorded 3,471 votes. He will run unopposed in November.

• Coroner – John P. Gonzalez (D, I) recorded 4,181 votes. He will run unopposed in November.

• Chief Magistrate Judge – Shane Geeter (D, I) recorded 4,080 votes. He will run unopposed in November.

• County Commission, District 1 – Emily Davis (D, I) recorded 1,103 votes. She will run unopposed in November.

• County Commission, District 2 – Kendrick Butts (D) recorded 993 votes. He will run unopposed in November.

• County Commission, District 3 – Sammy Hall (R, I), recorded 530 votes. He will run unopposed in November.

• County Commission, District 4 – Henry Craig (R, I) recorded 1,034 votes. He will run unopposed in November.

• County Commission, District 5 – John Westmoreland (R, I) recorded 1.304 votes. He will be challenged by Democrat Kelvin T. Butts in November.

• County Commission, District 5 – Kelvin Butts (D) recorded 587 votes, and Amy Burt recorded 463 votes. Butts will challenge John Westmoreland in November.

• Probate Judge (non-partisan) – Todd Blackwell (I) recorded 7,868 votes.

• School Board, District 2 (non-partisan) – Shannon D. Hill (I) recorded 1,260 votes.

• School Board, District 3 (non-partisan) – Lyn Chandler (I) s recorded 1,030 votes.

• School Board, District 4 (non-partisan) – John Noah Jackson (I) recorded 1,636 votes.