Trina Griffiths was leading in the six-person judicial race to replace retiring State Court Judge Toby Prodgers with 14,343 votes, per the county elections board.
As of midnight Tuesday, Diana Simmons had 11,484 votes, Joe Atkins had earned 7,581 votes, Mazi Mazloom had 7,082 votes, Scott Halperin had 6,239 votes and David Willingham had 6,010 votes.
Atkins said his faith and his family had helped him while campaigning.
“I suppose I have been helped by not getting too stressed out about the possible outcome,” he told the MDJ in an email Tuesday.
Like many of the other candidates, Atkins told the MDJ the pandemic disrupted his campaign.
“The lack of ability to meet a lot of voters in person (due to COVID-19) has certainly been a hindrance,” he said.
“I don’t particularly like the Zoom, talking on my computer at home with the dog barking, the cat up on the table and stuff,” she said Monday.
She thanked friends and others for helping her, and said she made a lot of phone calls and went door-to-door before the virus disrupted political activities.
Halperin said Monday that his record set him apart from the other candidates. He added campaign finances were set back by the virus, and acknowledged that his campaign starting in January, later than some of the other candidates, may have been another disadvantage.
“It became impossible to campaign the way you used to campaign. And businesses were drying up, so asking people for financial support became kind of inappropriate, and it really stifled traditional means of campaign,” he said.
Mazloom credited his nonprofit work with helping to spread his message to voters. He said his campaign had to change because of the coronavirus, but through social media and other messaging it reached about 200,000 people.
“Social distancing has made campaigning a little challenging. As a candidate, under normal circumstances you would have the opportunity to meet folks face to face, and that was taken away by the pandemic,” he said.
Simmons said she had to cancel a fundraiser because of the pandemic and was low on campaign funds, but connected with voters virtually. She thanked friends, family and colleagues who helped her.
“My campaign strategy was built around a grassroots effort that included visits to every spring festival in the county and miles of door-to-door handshake introductions. I certainly didn’t factor a global pandemic into the plan. However, I made the best of the situation by attending countless virtual association meetings and candidate forums," she said.
Willingham credited his campaign, which started in August, with having a flexible strategy that could adapt to the pandemic. He said the number of candidates was high for a state court race because there was only one vacancy this year.
“It’s hard to get the attention you want with six people in the race,” he said Tuesday.