The sole announced candidate to replace Floyd County Superior Court Judge J. Bryant Durham raised nearly $32,000 for his campaign in less than two months.
Durham, who was appointed to the bench in 2003 and elected to four full terms, said in mid-May he would not seek a fifth term in the May 19, 2020, nonpartisan election. He listed no money in his campaign coffers in his latest report, filed July 3 with the State Ethics Commission.
Monday was the deadline for elected officials and active candidates to disclose their campaign financial activities between Feb. 1 and June 30.
Bryan Thomas Johnson, a partner in the Rome law firm Cox, Byington, Twyman & Johnson, announced his candidacy two days after Durham officially said he wouldn’t run.
Johnson reported contributions totaling $31,920 and expenses of $257 – mainly website hosting fees – which left him with $31,663 in the bank. The next reporting period runs through Jan. 31, 2020.
In the most recent Superior Court judge race, in 2018, Kay Ann Wetherington spent about $80,000 to win the open seat over Emily Matson, who spent about $57,000.
Wetherington reported no contributions or expenses this year and $22 remaining in her account as of June 30. Matson still had $298 in her campaign fund.
Superior Court Judge Billy Sparks, who drew no opponent in his first election after his 2016 appointment, reported $6,402 remaining in his account. He had no expenses or contributions this year.
Floyd County’s fourth sitting Superior Court judge, Jack Niedrach, will take over the chief judge position when Durham retires Dec. 31. Niedrach reported no contributions or expenses and a net balance of $46.
Johnson reported 42 donations over the $100-mark, when each one must be itemized, and $850 in smaller contributions. He listed himself as putting $220 into his campaign.
Johnson’s major donors run the gamut from local attorneys to businesses and individual residents.
Retired judge Edward Johnson and JFB Developments LLC each gave the maximum, $2,800. The Rome company’s organizer is Jackson Barksdale and its registered agent is attorney Chris Twyman.
Donors who gave $1,000 include the law firm of Brinson, Askew, Berry et al; State Mutual Insurance vice president Richard Burton; William Byington III; attorneys William Byington Jr., Raymon Cox, Stephen Smith, Jr. and Chris Twyman; Delos Yancey III of State Mutual Insurance; State Mutual Insurance Co.; the law firm of McRae Smith Peek et al; Marglen executive Benjamin McElrath; Michael Johnson-Weeks; Carolyn Johnson; Jonathan Harris; David S. Doss; Catherine Dobbs; Crews Chemicals Inc.; and the law firm of Cox Byington Twyman & Johnson.