Barksdale, T. W.

T.W. Barksdale

Voters in the eight counties of the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit went to the polls Tuesday and elected T. Wright Barksdale as their new district attorney.

The 33-year-old Barksdale, a native of Washington County, who lives in Gray, turned back a strong challenge from Carl Cansino, a well-known criminal defense attorney from Milledgeville to win the Republican Primary on Tuesday.

Barksdale, who currently prosecutes criminal cases in Putnam and Hancock counties as an assistant district attorney, will replace current District Attorney Stephen A. Bradley, who decided not to seek re-election. Instead, Bradley ran for the seat that is being vacated by the retirement of Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit Chief Superior Court Judge William A. Prior Jr.

Since Bradley was unopposed, he won election to the judgeship.

In the race for district attorney, it boiled down to a pair of Republican candidates battling for the winner take all.

Barksdale, who ate dinner at The Brick, a popular restaurant in downtown Milledgeville before he went to elections central in the basement of the Baldwin County Courthouse, told The Union-Recorder he felt great.

 “I had a lot of support from a lot of wonderful people, but this isn't about Wright Barksdale, it’s about the people of the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit and we worked hard to get out there and let people know what we were all about,” Barksdale told the newspaper.

The newly-elected district attorney said it is the people’s office — not his.

“I hope that I can live up to my end of the deal, and lead this office in such a way that makes everybody proud,” Barksdale said. “We’ve got a lot of things on our plate over the next 12 to 18 months. But I feel good about our staff. We’ve got a lot of talented people.”

 Barksdale, who will ultimately become one of the youngest district attorneys in Georgia when he is sworn into office by Gov. Brian Kemp sometime before taking office at the end of this year, thanked the Lord for his help and guidance during the election.

“I want to thank the Lord for giving me this opportunity, but I also want to thank my wife and my family, and my parents,” Barksdale said after he watched as some of the final election returns were announced in Milledgeville — the largest city within the eight-county judicial circuit.

He said his wife and their three children sacrificed a lot through the election process.

“I worked every day on this,” Barksdale said, aside from prosecuting criminal cases in both Putnam and Hancock counties. “My family helped me so much to be able to be successful. I can’t thank them enough for what they did for me and what they mean to me.”

Barksdale also thanked some very close law enforcement officials for their support and wisdom during the hotly-contested race against Cansino.

“I want to publicly recognize Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills; Jones County Sheriff Butch Reese; and Gray Police Chief Adam Lowe,” Barksdale said. “Those individuals took a chance on me very early on when some of the people in this circuit were trying to persuade them otherwise.”

The newly-elected district attorney said he believes the work that he has done over the last seven years as an assistant district attorney prepared him for his new role as chief prosecutor.

“I’m really thrilled about having been elected the new district attorney of this circuit and I can’t wait to get in there and work on behalf of all the people of the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit in the most positive light possible,” Barksdale said.

The newly-elected district attorney defeated Cansino in several counties within the eight-county judicial circuit — the largest judicial circuit in the state. 

Unofficial results Tuesday showed Barksdale won Baldwin County 2,161 votes to Cansino’s 1,575 votes.

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