Greg Shenton was leading Tuesday’s nonpartisan election to replace retiring Superior Court Judge Stephen Schuster, according to unofficial results from the Cobb Board of Elections.
As of Midnight Tuesday, Shenton had 18,363 votes; Jason Marbutt had 17,043 votes, and John Greco had 15,544.
Greco, a criminal defense attorney, said Monday his experience helped him in his run for Superior Court.
“My experience has been a big help,” he said. “I've been around the block, I've been in the courtroom, I've been before judges. I’ve spent my entire career and my entire practice in the courtroom. I think that’s been the biggest factor in my campaign.”
Marbutt, a senior assistant district attorney for Cobb County, credited his wife, Olivia, with his success in the campaign.
“She is my secret weapon,” he said Monday. “No one runs a campaign alone, and no one can have a successful campaign without the support of their spouse. Olivia has been there every step of the way. Her love has held me together through the stress. Her spreadsheet skills have kept me organized. I could not have done this without her.”
Shenton thanked his peers in the legal field, who he said have helped spread his message to friends and neighbors.
“By far, my friends and colleagues in the legal community helped me the most. The best support that a candidate can get for their campaign can not be bought. It's having the respect and support of those deeply involved in your daily life and in the legal community that's most valuable and meaningful,” he said in an email Tuesday before results were announced. “Yard signs, robo-calls and texts, and expensive mailers may get a candidate name recognition, but voters trust the recommendations and endorsements of their friends and neighbors most of all.”
This summer’s election, which for judicial races was originally scheduled in May, has been marked by the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to delaying to the June 9 with the primary elections, the pandemic disrupted political campaigns by limiting in-person gatherings. The candidates agreed that this hindered all campaigning in an unusual election season.
Shenton, who entered the race in late February, said he also saw financial losses because of the pandemic, because asking for money “just wasn't appropriate.”
“Self-funding hundreds of thousands of dollars also wasn't an option,” he said. “Instead, I had to get creative and maximize each dollar that I had to reach as many of the nearly 800,000 people of Cobb County as possible--word of mouth, on-line forums, social media, my website, and spending long hours in the hot sun waving at cars as they drove by.”
Schuster, 68, has been a Cobb Superior Court judge for 16 years, since Jan. 1, 2005, after running for an open seat and winning in 2004. There are 10 total Superior Court judges in Cobb County, and each serves a four-year term.