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Gonzalez makes history, elected Georgia's first Latina district attorney

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

By Joe Johnson

With her victory in Tuesday's runoff election, Athens attorney Deborah Gonzalez is set to become Georgia’s first Latina district attorney.

Her term as DA for the Western Judicial Circuit, which includes Athens-Clarke and Oconee counties, begins Jan. 1.

Gonzalez's historic win was celebrated by the Latino Victory Fund, a political action committee.

“Deborah is a talented attorney with a proven public service record as a legislator and a social justice advocate,” said LVF President and CEO Nathalie Rayes. “District attorneys play a pivotal role in our communities’ safety and security, and increasing Latina representation in this position is key to having a justice system that reflects our diversity and values. Deborah’s voice will leave a lasting impact in the Western Judicial Circuit and the Athens-Clarke and Oconee communities. Latino Victory is proud to congratulate her on her well-deserved victory.”

In the election, the Democrat defeated nonpartisan opponent James Chafin by 866 votes, or with 51.66-percent of the vote, according to unofficial results posted on the Secretary of State’s website. The vote totals do not include absentee or provisional ballots.

Campaigning on a platform of judicial reform, Gonzalez garnered a total of 13,483 votes in the two-county judicial circuit, and Chafin, who currently serves as the judicial circuit's deputy chief assistant DA, received 12,617 votes.

In a video message on her Facebook page Tuesday night, Gonzalez had words of thanks for her supporters before heading off to district attorney training Wednesday morning.

“I want to say thank you, thank you to all of you. We did this together. This is the people’s vote, and we are ready to roll up our sleeves, work really hard to bring justice to Athens and Oconee,” Gonzalez said in the video, “and I’ll be reaching out to you guys to help and partner with me to make this happen.”

The runoff election was held because neither Chafin, Gonzalez, nor interim DA Brian Patterson received more than 50-percent of the vote in the Nov. 3 election.

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