Jeff Langley said the campaign trail helped him learn more about the people he will be serving when he takes office in January as district attorney for the circuit that includes White and Lumpkin counties.
“Our system works,” Langley said. “It had me out there talking to voters and listening to voters, and that’s going to make me a better district attorney for having done it.”
Langley, a 49-year-old prosecutor who has worked under three-term incumbent district attorney Stan Gunter for more than a decade, won the open seat for the Enotah Judicial Circuit Tuesday. Langley defeated Dahlonega attorney Raymond George by a four-county total of 7,226 to 4,344 for 62.5 percent of the vote. The circuit also includes Towns and Union counties.
The race was decided in Tuesday’s Republican primary because no Democrat qualified to run for the job.
Gunter is leaving the office to pursue a seat on the Georgia Court of Appeals.
The outgoing district attorney, who made Langley his chief assistant, is confident in his successor.
“He’s one of the most top-notch lawyers I’ve ever met,” Gunter said. “He’s a quality person who knows his business, and I think he’s going to do an excellent job.”
George carried Lumpkin County with 1,551 votes to Langley’s 1,343, but lost in the remaining three counties, including 1,034 to 3,004 in Union County, Langley’s home base and the area where the most votes were cast in the race.
“It was a hard-fought campaign,” George said. “I was blessed with an excellent staff and was honored with the privilege to meet some of the most interesting and fantastic people in the state of Georgia. Now it’s time to return to the full-time practice of law with new enthusiasm.”
Langley, who has extensive trial experience, has said he will be a “hands-on” district attorney who will be visible in all four of the circuit’s counties. He will establish primary offices in Blairsville and Dahlonega and may make a few changes.
“We’ll be reviewing staff,” Langley said. “I’ll be creating my own staff that will be a team that will work together closely.”
Langley said he and his supporters knocked on 2,500 doors during the campaign.
The chief concerns he heard about were making the streets safe from DUI drivers, child predators and illegal immigration, he said.
“At this stage in terms of Georgia law I’m somewhat limited as to what I can do about (illegal immigration), but in circumstances where there is a violation of the law by someone who is here illegally, we can certainly deal with that.” Langley said.