Four years after he was voted out of office as Superior Court judge, Richard Winegarden's race for State Court judge continues to hit roadblocks.
In the latest development, a local attorney claims Winegarden's campaign materials mislead voters and defy Judicial Qualifications Commission rules.
Christine Koehler, a high-profile lawyer, said Winegarden's yard signs and campaign website imply that he is a sitting judge, even though Winegarden left the bench after his 2008 defeat.
"All the verb tense lead you to believe he is an incumbent," Koehler said, adding that the JQC rules stipulate the candidates who are not currently on the bench should have "for judge" or "elect" on their signs. She had not filed an official complaint.
But Winegarden said his campaign materials are fine.
"I have looked at the Code of Judicial Conduct and the opinions of the JQC. There is nothing in there that suggests we are doing anything improper," he said. "If we were saying 're-elect' or 'keep' that would be a problem. If we put the title 'Judge' before my name that would also be a problem. The words 'for' or 'elect' are not required.
"What we are doing is totally proper," he added.
Koehler has given campaign funds to Emily Brantley, and she said she also considers the other three candidates -- Pam Britt, Norman Cuadra and Greg Lundy -- in the open race as friends. But she said there is a principle being violated by Winegarden.
"Being an incumbent in a judicial race usually provides a great advantage," she said. "With all the recent shenanigans of Gwinnett County, the last thing people need is to elect someone who has misled them from the beginning."
Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Camie Young can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/politics.