ATLANTA — Georgia Supreme Court Justice David Nahmias won a runoff election Tuesday to keep his post on the state's top court, while attorney Chris McFadden pulled off a come-from-behind win for a seat on the state Appeals Court.
Unofficial returns showed Nahmias winning 67 percent of the vote compared to 33 percent for Lawrenceville attorney Tammy Lynn Adkins with 95 percent of precincts reporting in the nonpartisan race.
Nahmias, 46, beat Adkins, 47, in the Nov. 2 general election but was forced into a runoff since he did not receive the 50 percent plus one vote required by law.
Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed Nahmias to the bench in August 2009 to replace retiring Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears.
During the campaign, Nahmias touted his credentials as a former clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. He also served as a leading terrorism prosecutor in the U.S. Justice Department until President George W. Bush appointed him U.S. attorney in Atlanta in 2004.
"When people focused on qualifications and who had a proven record and who had broad support from across the state, across the political community and across the legal community, it was a clear choice," Nahmias said Tuesday night.
Leading up to the Nov. 2 election, Adkins mostly skipped campaign events and rarely granted interviews. She said she could not afford to take time off from her law practice to campaign and instead relied on name recognition from a previous failed run for the state Appeals Court.
She did, however, campaign and raise money in the weeks before the runoff. Late Tuesday, she called Nahmias to congratulate him.
"I always knew it was an uphill battle," Adkins said.
Scott Sanders, 62, an attorney who practices entertainment law, was one of two voters who cast ballots at an Atlanta polling station over the course of an hour. He wouldn't say whom he supported in the top race, but was surprised that Adkins made it to a runoff without seriously campaigning.
"We really were laughing about it in our office, that we ought to get on the ballot next time because if you can come in second, not have put up a sign, not raise a dollar, never give a speech, I mean, why not?" Sanders said.
In the state Appeals Court runoff, McFadden received 62 percent of the vote compared to 38 percent for Marietta attorney Antoinette Davis with 96 percent of precincts reporting.
McFadden co-wrote a book on appellate law practiced in Georgia, which he brought to campaign stops to emphasize his qualifications for the open seat.
"I literally wrote the book on it," McFadden said Tuesday night.
Also Tuesday, voters decided three state Superior Court seats in Atlanta, Macon and Stone Mountain and selected two district attorneys for the Houston and Macon circuits.