Sheryl Jolly has unofficially won the race to replace Judge Albert M. Pickett on the Augusta Judicial Circuit's Superior Court bench.
With all but the provisional votes counted in Richmond, Columbia and Burke counties just before 11 p.m. Tuesday, Ms. Jolly led with 37, 240 votes over the closest competitor, Sherry Barnes, at 11,295 votes. Walter S. Meetze Jr. followed with 4,156 votes.
If Ms. Jolly continues to hold her lead in the polls, she will don black robes Dec. 31 or Jan. 3 to fill the eighth Superior Court judgeship for Richmond, Columbia and Burke counties.
"This is an incredible honor that the citizens of this community has placed their confidence in my candidacy," Ms. Jolly said Tuesday evening.
Ms. Jolly had more than 70 percent of voters Tuesday evening in both Richmond and Columbia counties, a much higher margin than the 45 percent plurality needed to win the election.
Ms. Jolly, 44, had the best name recognition of the three candidates. She has won two elections to serve as the Richmond County State Court solicitor general since 1996, and she twice made the short list of candidates for a governor's nomination for the Superior Court bench.
Ms. Jolly will assume the seat held by Judge Pickett, who announced in March that he would retire at the end of the year.
After 25 years on the bench, Judge Pickett told The Augusta Chronicle this spring that he intentionally waited to retire until the end of his term to give voters to right to choose his replacement.
Under the current practices of the Superior Court judges, as the newest judge, Ms. Jolly will preside over domestic relations cases.
Ms. Jolly, who pledged during her campaign to treat all people fairly and justly in court, said she would like to create a tie between the State Court and Superior Court in matters involving domestic violence, divorce and child custody issues.
Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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