Magistrate Judge Kellie Hill was ahead in the polls Tuesday night over family attorney Daniele Johnson for Cobb County Superior Court.
As of midnight Tuesday, Hill was leading in the nonpartisan election to replace retiring Cobb Superior Court Judge Lark Ingram with 31,916 votes, according to unofficial results from the Cobb Board of Elections. Johnson garnered 21,142 votes.
Both candidates were watching the results at home with family members Tuesday night.
Hill, who has served about four years on the magistrate bench, credited her experience with helping her to victory, though she could not run the campaign she planned because of the pandemic.
“As I thought back, what I realized was what may have been good for me is the fact that people were stuck at home, they had absentee ballots for weeks, and they were able to sit down and actually look at websites and vet the candidates before voting. I always believe that an educated voter is a good voter, especially if you’re a candidate such as I am who’s running on your experience,” she said Monday. “If voters looked it up, then I was confident that my experience would speak for itself and they would see that I was the better qualified candidate and vote.”
In addition to running on her experience, Hill has proposed a mentoring program for youth who end up in the court system, to provide life skills and curb recidivism.
Johnson said she spent a lot of time on social media to make up for not being able to interact with voters in-person.
“I think I ran a very strong and smart campaign, given the circumstances with COVID. Social media really helped me quite a bit. I spent a lot of time on Facebook, making a lot of friends on Facebook and having them share my posts,” she said Tuesday evening before results were reported.
Johnson said that the courts being closed created more time for her to focus on her campaign for Superior Court judge.
The winner will begin the job on the Superior Court in January.
Ingram, 66, the daughter of the late Cobb Superior Court Senior Judge Conley Ingram, has served on the court for 25 years since she was appointed by former Gov. Zell Miller in 1995, and qualified for reelection without opposition ever since.