Williams said in an emailed statement she would ask the Georgia Secretary of State’s office to reopen qualifying “so that I or anyone will have additional time to qualify.”
However, Secretary of State spokesman Jared Thomas said no “legal mechanism” existed to open qualifying now that the only candidate has withdrawn after the end of the qualifying period.
Williams qualified March 7 for the judgeship after Osborne qualified for re-election March 3. Osborne then formally withdrew from the race March 10, leaving his daughter the only candidate in the race to succeed him.
Williams told a reporter she and Osborne agreed on a method in which she would succeed Osborne by the judge qualifying and leaving the race once she also qualified for the same seat.
Williams said she “did not intend to bring criticism on me, my father, the judicial election process, or anyone, but I am aware that some people have expressed criticism and concern.”
“I qualified as a candidate for Paulding Superior Court judge in good faith and complied with every law in that regard,” Williams said.
“I qualified because I come from a family of lawyers who has long been committed to public service and I share their deep love for Paulding County,” she said.
Her withdrawal followed media reports of an agreement between Williams, Osborne and the State Judicial Qualifications Commission.
The agreement called for Williams to withdraw from the race. Osborne also would be unable to seek re-election or reappointment to the post he has held since 2005, an Atlanta newspaper reported.
The agency, which has the power to remove a judge for ethics violations, agreed not to pursue ethics charges against Osborne or Williams, though she could seek another judicial position in the future, the paper reported.