Yesterday, Douglas County learned that Governor Deal is appointing someone to the vacant District Attorney seat in Douglas County. The seat was opened due to the appointment of Brian Fortner, the former elected District Attorney, to an open State Court Judge seat. The Governor emailed a statement which included in part, “The governor looks forward to hearing from all interested applicants who qualify for the position in accordance with O.C.G.A § 15-18-3.”
“Interested applicants” is an odd statement since there is an election underway and therefore those who are truly interested in the hard work that comes with the position have already applied. Deputy Assistant District Attorney, Dalia Racine, who previously ran for the position, and Assistant District Attorney Ryan Leonard qualified in March to run for the position. The general election was scheduled for November 2018. That is it, no one else can meet the definition of “interested applicants” at this point.
The applications will close on April 30th. It will be interesting to determine if anyone who was not courageous enough to run for the elected seat will apply to be appointed. It is also interesting that the Governor would jump in the middle of an election, after qualifying fees have been paid, money raised, and active campaigning is ongoing.
I’m looking out for the list of applicants because any lawyer who was not willing to throw their hat in the ring for an election but is willing to apply to be appointed should be shamed out of the County for their cowardice. A person who is unwilling to face the public at the polls shouldn’t get the right to face the people from the bench. This doesn’t apply to everyone who is appointed to judicial positions. However, when the application for appointment comes only weeks after the application to qualified was open to everyone, there is major doubt in anyone who wasn’t willing to get on the ballot.
The action makes me wonder …. Does Governor Deal have someone other than the two people who stepped up to run for office in mind? Does Governor Deal favor one candidate over the other? Does Deal know something we don’t? Is this a partisan action?
Governor Deal has pleasantly surprised us in the past and may do it again. I’m sure Governor Deal is aware that Douglas County’s demographics are shifting and any appointment should consider the people who live in the County. When comparing the two candidates, Dalia Racine is more aligned with Deal in her prosecutorial career, her work on child sex trafficking, and her alignment with the Governor’s criminal justice reform. This is Racine’s second attempt at the seat, just narrowly losing to Brian Fortner by less than 500 votes. Racine’s sincerity and willingness to work for the job is crystal clear. Even if other (cowardice) lawyers apply, they can’t hold a match to Racine’s qualifications.
Interesting move … I will be watching for the interesting outcome.