Probate judges campaigning again

By Ed Brock

Unbeknownst to many voters there is still one more election coming up to determine who will be Clayton County's next probate judge.

Candidates Pam Ferguson and Clay Davis both said that in their campaigns for the Oct. 7 runoff election they have had to spread the word about the runoff as much as they've had to present their own platforms.

"A lot of people are not aware that there's a runoff at all," Ferguson said.

Davis said more should be done to notify people about small elections like this one.

"The people who come to the polls that day will be voting for one person or another," Davis said.

In the Sept. 16 election Ferguson had the lead over Davis with 3,826 votes to his 3,013, but none of the four candidates in that election earned the over 50 percent of the vote needed to win the position outright.

They are running to replace long-time retiring Probate Judge Eugene Lawson. Lawson has agreed to stay on for a while in a limited capacity to train his successor.

Both candidates said they have been going out to meet the people along with putting up signs and sending out mailings.

"I believe in asking the individual for their vote," Davis said. "If I miss you it's because there aren't enough hours in the day."

Ferguson said she is available at her office for voters who want to meet her. Though she had the lead in the previous election, Ferguson said she's not letting that shape her current campaign.

"I'm not going to be a predictor. I'm going to focus on getting out there and doing the work," Ferguson said.

Davis said he would stress both his experience and his compassion as the things a probate judge needs.

As a lifelong resident of Clayton County, Ferguson said previously that she has been an attorney in Jonesboro for 14 years and has not moved her office during those 14 years. She has handled probate cases and dealt with "emotionally charged issues" on a daily basis in her practice in family law. Ferguson attended Clayton State College and transferred to the University of Georgia, where she graduated with a BA degree in 1986. Later she earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Georgia in 1989 and was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in June of 1989.

Davis said he had 22 years of practicing law including seven years as municipal court judge in Forest Park. He attended the National Judicial College on judicial leadership, special court jurisdiction and advanced evidence. Davis is also former state representative and U.S. Marine and represented the Sixth District at the Georgia Municipal Court Council.

Davis said he after graduating law school, he has amassed hundreds of hours of continuing legal and judicial education.

One change has already been made in the duties the new probate judge will address. Overseeing elections such as this one will no longer be among those duties.