In the May 20 primary election, Harris had 40.8 percent of the vote while Stedman garnered 31.6 percent. Challenger Nathan Wade, an associate municipal court judge and attorney, earned only 27.6 percent of votes in the primary. When asked which of his former opponents he supports in the runoff, Wade said Georgia’s Judicial Qualifications Commission prevents him from publically endorsing a candidate.
Harris said she is trying to take advantage of every opportunity to meet constituents, listen to their concerns, share her message and encourage them to vote.
“With so many folks on vacation and enjoying the summer break, winning the runoff on July 22 requires generating attention and turnout, and that takes hard work, enthusiasm and dedication,” she said. “This is an important race. The people we elect to the bench have a tremendous impact on our lives and our community, and I plan to continue reminding Cobb Countians of that fact.”
Harris said she is honored and humbled to have received the most votes in the primary race.
“There is a clear distinction between the two remaining candidates,” she said. “The goal in Juvenile Court, where my opponent was appointed, is about reuniting children with families. Superior Court, where I have been practicing law for 19 years, is very different. We deal with more serious offenders, more serious crimes and a greater impact on our community. Public safety and holding offenders accountable begins with the police but ends in the Superior Courtroom.”
Stedman said she has served as an assisting Superior Court judge in addition to her experience in Juvenile Court and there would be no learning curve for her to take on this new role.
“I am honored to be in the runoff and honored by the confidence those who voted for me have in my being the best candidate and the best person to be elected to the Cobb County Superior Court bench,” she said.
Similar to her opponent, Stedman said the key to winning the runoff will be voter turnout.
“With such a low turnout in May [17.5 percent in Cobb County] and a prediction that the turnout will be even lower for the runoff, all of us who are candidates know we must get our folks out to vote,” she said.
Stedman said she has learned so much with this being her first political race, and she will continue to reach voters via a targeted grassroots campaign.
Meet the Candidates
Name, age: Ann Harris, 50
Occupation: senior assistant district attorney with the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office
Education: bachelor’s degree in finance, Auburn University, 1984; juris doctor degree, Vanderbilt University, 1994
Family: husband Jim
Campaign website: www.annharrisforjudge.com
Name, age: Juanita Stedman, 59
Occupation: Cobb County juvenile court judge
Education: bachelor’s degree in education, University of Georgia, 1976; master’s degree in education, Georgia State University, 1983; juris doctor degree, Georgia State University, 1988
Family: husband Hugh, two adult daughters: Emily Stedman and Molly Stedman Metz
Campaign website: www.judgestedmanforsuperiorcourt.com