David Johnson wins Circuit Court judge's race to fill father's seat

benw@ledger-enquirer.comJune 3, 2014 

Joe Paull jpaull@ledger-enquirer.com Leah Cate and Deloris Sanders walk out of the Phenix City Central Activity Center after voting Tuesday afternoon.

District Court judge David Johnson will be moving to Circuit Court at the end of this year after taking more than 60 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s primary election in Russell County.

In an election with only 20 percent of voters casting ballots, Johnson took 61.5 percent or 1,533 to 956 or 38 percent for April Lancaster Logan-Russell, a Phenix City attorney, in an unofficial tally of votes for the two Democrats.

At his campaign headquarters, Johnson said he’s relieved to get the support from voters. “I wasn’t sure until the last votes were counted,” he said.

Johnson, 33, will fill the seat held by his father, Al Johnson, who is retiring in December. While growing up watching his father, Johnson said he could see the difference you can make in the community.

“It’s something that got engrained in me pretty early to use the gifts God has given me to help people,” Johnson said. “That is what I have tried to do and will continue to do.”

Before the votes were even counted, Logan-Russell said she’s excited to be the first female judicial candidate ever in Russell County. “That right there is an honor in and of itself,” she said. “Just to be on the ballot is a huge honor and I’m humbled by that.”

In other Democratic primary races, state Rep. George “Tootie” Bandy of Opelika collected only 40 percent or 468 votes to 697 or 60 percent by challenger, Russell County Commissioner Ronnie Reed in District 83. Reed’s lead disappeared in Lee County where Bandy was ahead late Tuesday.

In District 80 on the Republican ballot, state Rep. Lesley Vance was leading a three candidate race with Mervin Dudley and Alex Balkcum. In Russell County, Vance took 62 percent or 724, while Dudley followed with 222 and Balkcum trailed with 210. The winner will face Russell County Commissioner Tillman Pugh, a Democrat, in the November general election.

In the District 27 senate race, Sen. Tom Whatley took 58 percent or 708 while Andy Carter, a retired U.S. Air Force pilot, had 520 or 42 percent of the vote.

Russell County Coroner Arthur “Pee Wee” Sumbry Jr. faced no opposition in the Democratic primary but will face Republican Lamar Sizemore , a retired nurse in November.

Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor and Revenue Commissioner Naomi Elliott, both Democrats, were not on the ballot because they faced no opposition.

Probate Judge Alford Harden said no problems were experienced with the primary that sent only 4,267 voters to the polls. That is about 20 percent of the voters, he said. ---- ----

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