John Barrow courtesy new and improved

John Barrow served as an Athens-Clarke County commissioner from 1990 to 2004 (Courtesy John Barrow)

Last November was wrought with a number of hotly contested elections in the state of Georgia. One of which, the secretary of state race, went as far as a runoff. Democrat John Barrow finished as the runner-up in the election, and now the former congressman and Athens native has his eyes on the state Supreme Court.

Barrow is looking to replace Justice Robert Benham, whose retirement was announced last Friday in a press release from the court. Benham was appointed by Gov. Joe Frank Harris in 1989 and became the first African American on Georgia’s Supreme Court. Benham received his Juris Doctor from the University of Georgia.

Barrow is an Athens native who graduated from the University of Georgia with bachelor’s degrees in history and political science. He moved to Savannah and represented Georgia’s 12th Congressional District, of which Athens used to be a part, for 10 years. Before he was in Congress, Barrow served as an Athens-Clarke County commissioner in from 1990 to 2004.

Barrow also clerked for the Court of Appeals for the 5th and 11th Circuits.

“An appellate court depends on the combined experience of its judges to arrive at decisions that are fair and just,” Barrow said in a press release, “When Justice Benham retires, the Supreme Court will lose almost as much experience as the rest of the court combined. That’s why I’m running – to offer my experience to help maintain the kind of balance we want in our Supreme Court.”

Former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Evans will be Barrow’s campaign chair. Barrow is the second to announce his race for the position, following Appeals Court Judge Sara Doyle.

Georgia’s judicial elections are nonpartisan and will take place in the May 2020 primary.