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Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - 6:19am

Runoff Races Include State Supreme Court

Polls across Georgia will re-open on Tuesday, November 30th for ballots to be cast in runoff elections. Various local and regional races will be decided, as will a pair of statewide races on every ballot. One of those is for a seat on the state’s Supreme Court.

That race features an incumbent trying to fend-off a challenger seen as a surprise to many to even be here.

Lawrencevile attorney Tammy Adkins says she couldn’t afford to spend money, or to take time off from her family law practice to campaign before the general election…but now it’s different.

“I’ve shut down my law practice. I am raising money and speaking to as any voters as possible to get the vote out and reaching out to those folks who I reached in the Court of Appeals race when I went around the state for six months.”

Adkins says she finished second because many voters remember her run for a Court of Appeals seat in 2008. She says being first on the ballot and the only woman didn’t hurt either.

In the runoff, Adkins is facing incumbent Justice David Nahmias, a former U.S. Attorney who was appointed to the state’s high court last year. Nahmias was 2 percentage points shy of winning the election outright. He says he’s not surprised to be in a runoff because it was a three-way race. The challenge now he says, is getting his supporters back to the polls.

“The biggest issue for us is making sure voters know there’s another election in Georgia, and come back out to vote one more time, and have some information about the qualifications of the two candidates.”

And that could be the biggest hurdle for Nahmias, Adkins, and other candidates in other races statewide. How to reach voters, like Jack Smith of Douglasville.

“I don’t want to get in that game. I’ve done my voting for what’s done, so I basically don’t even want to care about it.”

Nahmias and Adkins are both targeting areas of the state that have local runoff races next week, like Columbus and Athens.

Nahmias says he’s letting endorsements do some of the talking. He says broad support from the State Bar of Georgia, elected officials, and governor-elect may make a difference with some voters.

“They may look to people that they do know and trust who are familiar with me and my record and what our judges and courts do. And that may give them the trust they need to cast their vote our way.”

In her career, Tammy Akins deals with divorce cases in running her family law practice in Lawrenceville. She says her connection with the common Georgian is what the state’s high court needs.

“The makeup of the court, and the diversity of the court—only having one woman out of seven, and having my background of doing nothing but family law…a lot of the cases that come in front of the Georgia Supreme Court are family law cases—so I think that makes me uniquely qualified for this seat.”

Besides the runoff for the state’s Supreme Court, there’s also one for a seat on the state Appeals Court. And voters in three districts will decide Superior Court seats, and two district attorney positions.

Early voting is underway and continues through Wednesday of this week.

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