Judge Horace Johnson

Newton County Superior Court Judge Horace Johnson

COVINGTON — Newton County Superior Court Judge Horace Johnson could become the first Newton County native to serve on the Georgia Supreme Court if his bid for election is successful.

Johnson has announced his intention to seek the seat that will be vacated by the retirement of Justice Robert Benham. Johnson’s current term on the Superior Court bench will end Dec. 31, 2020, and he said he does not plan to resign while he campaigns for the higher court.

Johnson said he made the decision to run after discussions with his wife, Michelle, and a lot of prayer.

“I prayed before (the decision) and I prayed afterward, and I’m still prayerful,” he said.

Johnson will face opposition from former U.S. Rep. John Barrow, the runner-up for secretary of state in 2018; State Court of Appeals Judge Sara Doyle, the first candidate to announce a bid; and former state Rep. Beth Beskin, who worked in the state Attorney General’s Office. Barring a runoff, the election will be decided in the May 19, 2020 non-partisan general election.

Johnson has served 17 years as a Superior Court judge in the Alcovy Circuit following his appointment by former Gov. Roy Barnes. Prior to his appointment, Johnson practiced law in Covington for 20 years.

Johnson’s campaign will be led by former Deputy U.S. Attorney General Larry D. Thompson, a professor of law at UGA.

“Judge Johnson is exactly what every Georgian should expect from a judge at any level, but especially at our state Supreme Court – fair, experienced, compassionate, in love with the law and determined to get to the right decision. I am proud to chair this campaign and work to get him elected,” said Thompson.

Johnson said he believes he has the right experience to be a successful Supreme Court justice.

“Experience matters,” he said. “ I understand the challenges facing litigants in the


I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.