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Barrow seeks to make abortion an issue in Supreme Court primary

Georgia’s upcoming May primary has an unusual statewide race that one candidate wants to make a referendum on abortion rights.  

A state supreme court race is technically nonpartisan. But, this is an oddball race that has become classically partisan in spite of the fact that there is no "D" and no "R" attached to either candidate.

John Barrow served 10 years as a Democratic member of Congress. He now wants to win a seat on the state supreme court. He beats a drum on one divisive issue.

"I’m running for the supreme court of Georgia because I believe women have the same rights under our state constitution that we used to have under the federal constitution before Roe v. Wade was reversed a couple of years ago," Barrow said.

Barrow is running in a nonpartisan race against Andrew Pinson.

Governor Brian Kemp appointed Pinson in 2022. Pinson’s bio says he held a position in the Federalist Society, which helped former President Trump select his U.S. Supreme Court appointees who overturned Roe v. Wade.

Abortion has been a divisive issue at the state capitol since 2019, when Mack Parnell worked to pass Georgia's "heartbeat bill.” And he’s all for keeping Justice Pinson.

"Georgians will decide between a seasoned impartial jurist, and an activist trying to become a judge trying to advance their own political agenda," said Parnell, director of the Georgia Faith and Freedom Coalition. "That’s (Barrow) prejudging cases. That’s him taking a position before there's anything been argued before him."

Pinson's campaign sent a statement to 11Alive News: "Our code of ethics prohibits judicial candidates from commenting on issues that may come before the court because prejudging cases would rob the parties of justice. I am running on my record as a fair and impartial judge with bipartisan support from all over Georgia.

But Barrow said the race presents a unique opportunity for voters.

"Elections for supreme court justices in Georgia are rarer than hens teeth, And a real contest over real issues, rarer still. We just don’t have opportunities like this very often," Barrow said.

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