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Lovejoy, Leonard headed to runoff for state court judge

The Troup County State Court race will have a runoff election in August.

Troup County Assistant Solicitor Kyle Lovejoy and West Point Municipal Judge Wesley Leonard finished in the top two spots Tuesday in the three-person race. Luther Jones, LaGrange assistant city court judge, finished third.

In the closest race of the night, Lovejoy received the most votes with 5,230 or 35 percent, and Leonard received 4,868 or 33 percent. However, neither candidate reached the 50 percent threshold of voters to avoid a runoff. Jones received 4,759 votes or 32 percent of the vote.

Lovejoy touted his experience as a prosecutor in state court for the past 16 years during the election cycle and said Wednesday that he’s ready to move to the runoff.

“It’s one step close to obtaining the goal that I set,” he said.

Lovejoy said he doesn’t plan to change much about how he has campaigned for the seat on the bench, but with COVID-19 restrictions being eased, he may be able to speak to more people in person.

“We know now there will be a finality to it, so I’m excited about that,” he said. “My campaign and experience will still be the same.”

Leonard thanked his family, colleagues and supporters for their hard work in getting his campaign message out.

“I’m looking forward to the runoff,” he said. “I thank Mr. Lovejoy and Mr. Jones for the way they conducted themselves.”

Leonard said he knows that voter turnout will be crucial during a runoff election, especially since the state court judge race is usually further down the ballot.

“We will continue to work hard and ask our supporters to do the same,” he said.

Jones could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Runoff elections in Georgia are scheduled for August 11, according to the Georgia Secretary of State.