Mike Annis doesn't assume his post as Superior Court judge until Wednesday, but he said he's already been bombarded with supporters wanting to hang onto the seat.
"A hundred people have called to offer assistance in the campaign next year," he said one day after being chosen to fill the empty spot. "I said, 'Let's wait til we get sworn in, get a little bit settled and then get started."'
On Tuesday, Gov. Sonny Perdue ended months of speculation when he announced that Annis would be the newest judge on the Augusta Judicial Circuit bench.
The slot was vacated by Robert L. Allgood, who decided to return to private practice in July. But to remain a Superior Court judge for the circuit, which represents Richmond, Columbia and Burke counties, Annis will have to defend his seat during the primary elections next July.
Annis, a former Columbia County school board member and assistant district attorney for the Toombs Judicial Circuit, has run for Superior Court judgeship in the past.
Mike Annis, shown
in front of Columbia County's Justice Center, recently
was named the Augusta Judicial Circuit's newest
Superior Court judge.
Photo by Barry Paschal
In 1998, Annis decided not to run for re-election on the school board to campaign against Augusta attorney Duncan Wheale.
Wheale won the race, but Annis said he does not regret entering the contest.
"I didn't want to pass up the opportunity," he said. "A lot of things, in the long run, work out for the best - I really believe that."
Now, that Annis has secured a spot on the same bench he once campaigned for, he said he is excited about starting the position even as he is helping with the transition from the Martinez firm where he has been working.
Annis, 51, was born in Augusta but now lives in Evans with his wife and children.
"I married a Columbia County girl," Annis said about his move years ago across county lines. "Columbia County has so many quality-of-life areas that are very positive aspects."
Annis' appointment raises the number of Columbia County residents on the Augusta Judicial Circuit to three. The five other Superior Court judges on the bench and senior Judge Bernard J. Mulherin Sr., who has helped fill in since Allgood left, are Richmond County residents.
The judges handle cases in all three counties of the judicial circuit, but Annis will be based out of Augusta, where he will share an office suite with Wheale.
Though they still constitute less than half the bench, the representation from Columbia County residents is higher than it has been in previous years, said Superior Court Judge Jim Blanchard, who lives in Columbia County.
"I'm pleased that the representation on the bench of the Augusta Bar Association has another member from Columbia County," he said. "With the increase in voters of the circuit residing in Columbia County, it's an honor to have one selected in the county to represent all of the citizens of this circuit."
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