LAWRENCEVILLE - Preliminary totals show family law attorney Karen E. Beyers has likely unseated a Gwinnett Superior Court judge of more than two decades.
With all but absentee ballots tallied at 1 a.m., Beyers led Richard T. Winegarden 111,372 to 92,990, preliminary totals showed.
Beyers, a political novice, is a private practice attorney who vowed during her campaign to cleanse an existing backlog of criminal and civil cases in Gwinnett Superior Court. She plans to implement a revamped calender system to try cases fairly and promptly, she said.
Winegarden, who has held the bench since 1987, proclaimed himself "Gwinnett's toughest sentencer" leading to Tuesday's general election. He'd presided over more than 55,000 cases during his tenure, he said.
Superior Court judges preside over felony criminal cases, civil cases, including divorce, and other matters such as real estate deeds.
Beyers, a fifth generation attorney, has held a private practice in Gwinnett since 1992.
Superior Court Clerk
In the other contested Superior Court race, incumbent Republican Tom Lawler has likely topped Democrat Abby Alaoui for the office of Gwinnett Superior Court Clerk.
With absentee ballots left to be counted, Lawler held a commanding lead (141,627 to 102,800) over his opponent, according to preliminary totals.
A former Gwinnett District Attorney, Lawler has held the clerk seat since 1997.
Alaoui was propelled into his first stab at elected office by what he called "a deterioration in the quality and quantity of services" he saw in the Clerk's Office, he said.