Western Circuit District Attorney Ken Mauldin announced earlier this week that he’s resigning. No big deal, right? He wasn’t going to run for re-election anyway. So Gov. Brian Kemp appoints someone who gets beaten by the favorite in the Democratic primary, Deborah Gonzalez, in November.
Well, not so fast. An obscure law passed in 2018 means that there will be a special election in November for district attorney, not a regular one. That means no Democratic primary in May and a nonpartisan “jungle primary” where every candidate is on the November ballot together. Which means a likely runoff in January if a Republican gets in the race—and Democrats don’t turn out for runoffs.
Still, to Gonzalez, it’s better than the alternative: If Kemp waits until after May 3 to appoint someone, the election gets pushed to 2022.
“It is the ultimate form of voter suppression,” she said in a video posted on Facebook and YouTube. Gonzalez called it a good ol’ boy plot to stop a progressive woman of color from winning the race.
Gonzalez has set up a petition and is urging supporters to call Kemp’s office and urge him to appoint Mauldin’s replacement before May 3. (Mauldin, it should be noted, has already called on Kemp to appoint someone quickly.)
Her Democratic opponent, chief assistant DA Brian Patterson, has not weighed in, but we’ll let you know if he does. We’ll also update this post if we hear back from Kemp’s office.
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