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2 candidates remain in race for Hall probate judge
Laine, Davidson to meet in Aug. 21 runoff for judicial post
Brook Davidson, left, and campaign coordinator Thea DuBose check results during her primary election party Tuesday evening.

We the People voting info, election results

Statewide results from Ga. Secretary of State Elections website

Hall County probate judge
Susan Brown 24.3%
Brook Davidson 25.9%
Patty Walters Laine 31.2%
Lisa Maniscalco 18.5%

What’s next: Laine and Davidson meet in Aug. 21 runoff; winner faces no Democratic foe in November

Brook Davidson
Age: 32
Occupation: Probate attorney with Andrew, Merritt, Reilly & Smith LLP
Political experience: None
Education: Women’s College of Brenau University, Bachelor of Arts in international studies/history and political science. Georgia State University College of Law, juris doctorate.
Family: Husband Tim Davidson, sons Tad, Nick and Asher.
District history: My family enjoys a long history in Hall County. A native of Hall County, I returned to Hall County to attend Brenau University. I commuted from Clermont to Georgia State while attending law school. For the last five years, my family has lived in the Oakwood area. I am blessed to have the opportunity to raise my family in Hall County. From the amazing people, to the extraordinary recreational opportunities, to the unique opportunities in the public school system, I cannot think of a better place to live and work.

Patty Walters Laine
Age: 37
Occupation: Attorney
Political experience: None
Education: Gainesville High School, 1993; Furman University, Bachelor of Arts in political science, 1997; University of Georgia School of Law, juris doctorate, 2000
Family: Husband Jesse Laine, two young daughters
District history: I was born and raised in Gainesville and am a lifelong resident of Hall County other than the seven years I spent in college and law school. I have my law practice in Gainesville specializing in real estate, estate planning, and probate work. For many years, we have been members of Redwine United Methodist Church, but I grew up in Gainesville First United Methodist. I have served on the Finance Committee and as a Sunday School teacher at Redwine. I am a Girl Scout leader and actively involved with Hall County Girl Scouts. Additionally, I am in Gainesville Phoenix Woman’s Club.

The race for Hall County probate judge was narrowed down to two candidates from four.

Hall County attorneys Patty Walters Laine, who earned 31 percent of the vote, and Brook Davidson, who won about 26 percent, will face each other in the Aug. 21 runoff.

The two candidates beat out Susan D. Brown and Lisa Maniscalco.

Probate courts are responsible for processing wills, administering estates, appointing guardianships for minors and incapacitated adults, and issuing firearm and marriage licenses.

The probate judge is elected countywide to a four-year term. Incumbent Judge Patti Cornett is not seeking re-election.

The new front-runner, Laine has been in private practice locally, handling estate planning and probate cases for the last 10 years.

On learning that she earned the most votes Tuesday night, Laine said, “I’m mostly humbled that I would be the top. It’s kind of a whirlwind night.”

Laine has proposed improving customer service outcomes at Hall County Probate Court, where phone service has been particularly criticized.

Laine said she wasn’t sure what specifically helped her win the most votes. Instead, she took time to praise the other candidates as well-qualified.

She called the campaign among the four Hall County attorneys, “The cleanest race that’s been run in the election.”

Still, Laine vowed to maintain her grassroots efforts to get the vote out again for the runoff.

The other runoff candidate, Davidson, said her experience helped set her apart enough to move to the next round.

Davidson is an attorney with Andrew, Merritt, Reilly and Smith, where she represents clients in probate courts throughout Northeast Georgia. She’s called probate law her “passion” and has distinguished herself as the only “full-time probate lawyer” in the race.

Looking toward the runoff, Davidson she would target the support of Brown and Maniscalco.

“I’ve got to rally the support from other voters and keep talking about the issues,” she said.

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