Citadel graduate and self-described career prosecutor Brad Smith will become the third district attorney in two years for the judicial circuit that encompasses Jackson, Banks and Barrow counties after winning a primary runoff election Tuesday and being assured of a four-year term.
"I’m feeling very humbled that this great honor has been bestowed upon me," Smith said Tuesday night.
Smith, who will be 37 when he takes office, will join Habersham County District Attorney Brian Rickman as one of the youngest district attorneys in the state.
An assistant district attorney who lives in Winder, Smith defeated Jefferson lawyer Donna Sikes in the three-county race for Piedmont Judicial Circuit district attorney with 56 percent of the vote. Smith had 5,502 votes to Sikes’ 4,249.
Current District Attorney Rick Bridgeman failed to collect enough votes to make the runoff in close balloting for last month’s Republican primary.
Smith worked for eight years under former Piedmont DA Tim Madison, who is serving prison time for stealing taxpayer money through a scheme to divert an employee’s salary. The GBI and state attorney general’s office said Smith and a number of other prosecutors and staffers who worked for Madison had no knowledge of the scheme.
Bridgeman was appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue last year to serve out Madison’s unexpired term. No Democrat is running for the post, so Smith will be the first new elected district attorney in the circuit in 25 years when he takes office Jan. 1.
"At this time I plan on going in quietly," Smith said. "Going in where you think you have a mandate to make changes is the wrong way, I think. And there’s already a lot of progress made in restoring credibility to the office."