The first day of qualifying for the Muscogee County District Attorney’s race, yielded a surprise challenger to three-term incumbent Julia Slater in the Democratic primary.
Columbus attorney Mark Jones filed the paperwork and paid the $3,674.20 fee to enter the race.
Slater, who was first elected in 2008, ran unopposed in 2016.
Jones, who has been practicing in Columbus for 13 years doing civil and criminal work, said the reason he was running is he believes he can do a better job than the current district attorney.
“I will move cases quicker. I will focus on violent crimes and crimes against children,” Jones told News 3. “And I will win cases.”
One of the criticisms of Slater’s leadership of the office is that the caseload has backed up and it can take two to three years for some cases to make it to trial or a plea bargain.
Slater’s response to Jones’ challenge was to praise the hard work and dedication of her staff.
“I have the best assistant district attorneys and the best victims’ advocates in the state,” she told News 3. “They are working as hard as they can, and I am proud of them.”
The Democratic primary will be on May 19. The General Election is Nov. 3.
Qualifying for state and local offices opened on Monday and continues through Friday.
All seven Muscogee County Superior Court judges — Gil McBride, Bobby Peters, Wiliam Rumer, Maureen Gottfried, Ron Mullins, Ben Land and Art Smith — qualified for re-election on Monday.
The district attorney and the seven judges serve the six-county Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit.