The contest is a match between two veteran lawyers, who also faced each other back in 2006. Both candidates have emphasized their experience as their strong points, with Bodiford having decades of experience presiding over cases and as a former prosecutor while Merritt also brings a good deal of courthouse experience to the race.
There are 10 superior court judges in Cobb, each serving four-year terms.
Bodiford, 61, of Marietta, said county residents should return him to the bench because he has proven to be a good judge.
"I believe that I'm making a difference," he said. "I believe experience counts and I have it. I believe that certainly the public so far has found that I've done a good job and I'm still enjoying it. I want to continue to serve."
In 2006, Bodiford won re-election against Merritt with more 80 percent of the vote.
In 2008, Merritt ran for chief Cobb Magistrate Court judge against incumbent Frank Cox. Cox won 99,055 votes, or 65 percent, to win a third term. Merritt received 52,505 votes, or 35 percent.
This year, Merritt hopes voters will take a closer look at her resume and decide to elect a fresh face to the court.
"I have prosecuted for 26 years, and therefore consistently interacted with judges," said Merritt, 63, of Kennesaw. "From that experience I've found that good judges can have a really great impact on the community."
Merritt, a widow, graduated from George State University in 1970. In 1975, she earned a law degree from Emory University School of Law, after giving birth and raising her children as a student. She worked as staff counsel to MARTA before becoming a deputy solicitor and then assistance solicitor of the Atlanta Municipal Court from 1981 to 2007.
Currently, Merritt serves as city solicitor of Hogansville in west Georgia and has a private practice in Cobb.
The job of a judge, said Merritt, is to be a referee between the prosecution and defense. She said she would apply the law equally to both sides.
"A good referee, in my opinion, calls a ball, a ball and a strike, a strike," she said. "I am a firm believer that you can be firm, demand respect and yet not be unpleasant."
Bodiford grew up on Main Street in Powder Springs. He graduated from Mercer University in 1974 and John Marshall Law School in 1979. Bodiford was in private practice and served as an assistant district attorney in Cobb, before his appointment as Cobb's chief magistrate judge at age 35. He served in that position from 1985 until 1994. He has served as a superior court judge since his July 1994 election.
Bodiford conducted Georgia's first drug court in the early 1990s. As a superior court judge, he has overseen such high-profile cases as the two month death penalty trial of ex-lawyer Fred Tokars and the month long murder trial of Lynn Turner. More recently, he presided over the infamous Brian Nichols trial in Fulton County.
"I believe I have been a no-nonsense type of jurist," Bodiford said. "One that runs an efficient courtroom, yet has compassion when needed."
According to his Sept. 30 campaign contribution disclosure report, Bodiford had received a total of $75,321 in contributions for the election. After $13,107 in expenditures, he ended with $61,214 on hand. Merritt's Sept. 30 disclosure report listed a total of $4,808 in contributions and $4,442 in expenditures, leaving $365 on hand, according to the Georgia Ethics Commission.