The GOP held its sixth debate, which gave state Sens. Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville) and John Albers (R-Roswell), incumbent Magistrate Court Judge James Drane, Cherokee County Superior Court incumbent Ellen McElyea and candidates David Cannon Jr. and Mark Shriver and Cherokee County State Court incumbent Judge Dee Morris and candidates Michelle Homier and Jeff Rusbridge the opportunity to court Republican voters for their support during the July 31 primary.
The Superior Court judgeship races are nonpartisan.
Residents also heard from the newly appointed Georgia Supreme Court Justice Keith Blackwell.
Incumbent Surveyor Ron Wikle was scheduled to speak, but did not attend the event.
Both Loudermilk and Albers, who became Cherokee’s newest legislators due to reapportionment told the crowd of about 50 they were committed to protecting and promoting conservative Republican values in the Georgia General Assembly.
Both candidates face no Republican primary opposition. Loudermilk will have no Democratic challenger, but Albers will face Akhtar Sadiq of Roswell in the Nov. 6 general election.
While none of the candidates were met with jeers, Cannon brought forth allegations that Shriver in 2008 voted for then-Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama in the general election.
Cannon, who said he has “consistent conservative credentials,” also noted Shriver contributed to then-Sen. Obama’s campaign and only moved to Cherokee County last year to run for the office.
Cannon also accused Shriver of being reprimanded by the State Bar of Georgia for making false statements in court.
Shriver said he’s running for the judgeship because he “cares about Cherokee County.”
He noted he believed changes is needed at the Cherokee County Superior Court.
“Things need to be a little bit more flexible than they have been in the past,” he said.
Shriver did admit voting for Obama four years ago.
“We were where we were and I thought a new perspective was needed,” he said.
He noted he exercised his right to vote just like he hoped the crowd would do on July 31.
Shriver corrected Cannon and said he was reprimanded about 25 years ago by the state bar in relation to a case in which he was representing a client on a case involving Social Security benefits.
Shriver said he was “double-paid” on the case, and tried to return the excess funds to his client.
“He said, ‘No you did a good job on the case. You keep it’,” Shriver said on Tuesday, referring to his client.
Shriver said he received a letter from the Social Security Administration, notifying him he had indeed been overpaid.
Shriver noted he sent the excess money back to the administration, but the governmental agency notified the state bar and informed them of Shriver’s actions.
Shriver said he received a “private reprimand” from a three-panel body made up of lawyers.
The reprimand, Shriver said, essentially requested him not to commit the action again.
Drane and McElyea also addressed the audience, and informed them of the caseload their respective courts are experiencing.
Drane, who said he’s “proud and humble” to serve Cherokee County, told the audience he’s been a frugal steward of the taxpayer dollars, adding the court’s Electronic Warrant Interchange system has saved the county $439,000 since its inception.
McElyea also told the crowd that Cherokee residents have been fortunate to have judges who have not “tried to achieve personal power or fame from their jobs.”
She also discussed her efforts to create another drug accountability court under the supervision of the county’s Superior Court.
Candidates Rusbridge and Homier also pitched their explanations on why voters should choose them as their next State Court judge.
Homier touted her experience in the Cherokee County Solicitor General’s office as the lead prosecutor on traffic cases while Rusbridge said his experience with the Canton law firm Dyer & Rusbridge has allowed him to handle both criminal and civil cases.
Homier noted she “quickly learned how to handle” cases in her last four years at the office.
Rusbridge said his depth of experience “contributes to me being the most qualified candidate.”