Assistant Solicitor General Michelle Homier took 18,938 votes, or 52.5 percent of the vote, to edge out Canton attorney Jeff Rusbridge for the honor of replacing long-time State Court Judge C.J. Gober.
Gober, who served in the position for 18 years, decided not to seek re-election to the seat on the bench.
Homier, 34, has spent most of her time in front of the State Court bench for the last four and a half years in her role as prosecutor, but now she will find herself on the other side starting in January.
She joins Judge Allen Dee Morris, who had no opposition in Thursday’s election and Judge Alan Jordan, whose seat was not up this election year, on the bench.
“I definitely want to thank everyone,” Homier said Wednesday. “First off, this is perhaps the largest primary Cherokee has seen to come out. Obviously a lot of people went to the polls, and that the county had the opportunity to elect a State Court judge means a lot. I am very excited and very thankful.”
Rusbridge, 38, also said he appreciated everyone who came out to vote.
“I think we ran a clean race, and I believe that we both did our best,” Rusbridge said. “I greatly appreciate my family and everyone who gave me financial and moral support.”
Rusbridge said he planned to get on the backlog of work that has piled up at his office.
“I think we ran a good campaign and I certainly have no regrets,” he said.
Homier said she did a lot of grassroots campaigning and that she knocked on more than 1,800 doors in neighborhoods, went to farmers markets and events such as concerts around the community, speaking with people during the campaign.
“Most have a general idea about what State Court does, but had no idea of the number of cases we handle,” Homier said. “People found it refreshing that someone would want to talk with them about the issues.”
Homier said she will work to move forward her main platform of addressing addiction from the first offense to cut down on repeat offenders and working to get a mental health court.
She will also work to allow community service instead of fines in hardship cases.
“The people I talked to were receptive to community service when people can’t afford to pay a fine,” she said.
Her first goal, though, she said, was to continue to work with other members on the State Court bench, as well as those in the clerk’s office, Sheriff’s Department and other court-related services.
“I am not necessarily wanting to go in and make a lot of changes right away. I want to be able to work together with the other judges to make the State Court more efficient,” Homier said. “It will be a different experience and there will be some learning ground.”