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Incumbent Wynne wins close judge race
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Incumbent state court Chief Judge Charlie Wynne defeated challenger Sonny Sykes on Tuesday to win four more years on the bench in Hall County's only contested judicial race.

Wynne collected 25,920 votes to Sykes' 21,909, for 54 percent of the vote. But until 11:15 p.m., when election officials finished tabulating some 26,000 early and absentee votes, Wynne held onto a lead of a little more than 1,000 votes.

Wynne, 56, campaigned on his experience as a judge, his success in starting up Hall County's DUI court and the efficient operation of a court that brings in approximately $3 million in yearly county revenues.
Sykes, a Gainesville attorney, lost in his second bid for a judgeship. He ran for superior court judge in 1984.

It will be Wynne's third four-year term as state court judge. He presides over misdemeanor criminal cases and civil cases that do not have exclusive jurisdiction in superior court. Prior to winning the job in 2000, Wynne was the chief magistrate court judge for Hall County.

"I'm honored to have another four years," said Wynne, who called the final 90 minutes of waiting on the advance balloting totals some of the longest minutes of his life. "It was certainly a hard-fought race. My opponent Mr. Sykes worked hard, so I congratulate him on an energetic race. But I'm looking forward to continuing the work we've been doing in our courts for the next four years. And I'm appreciative of the opportunity to continue to serve. I'm thankful for the support of a lot of good folks in Hall County."

Wynne was the only Hall County judge to face opposition this election. Superior Court Judges Kathlene Gosselin and Bonnie Chessher Oliver, Magistrate court Chief Judge Margaret Gregory and Wynne's fellow state court Judge B.E. "Gene" Roberts all were unopposed on the ballot.

Wynne and Roberts last year presided over the disposition of 8,242 misdemeanor criminal cases. A third state court judgeship was added last month with Gov. Sonny Perdue's appointment of former state court Solicitor-General Larry Baldwin.

In the seven-candidate Georgia Court of Appeals race, Lumpkin County's Bruce Edenfield failed to make the Dec. 2 runoff election for a spot on Georgia's second-highest court.