Originally created 04/24/98

Trustee says he will seek job as judge



Columbia County school Trustee Mike Annis has announced he will not seek re-election to his District 1 seat next year, opting instead to make a run for a Superior Court judge's seat.

The 46-year-old Evans attorney said he has aspired to a judgeship since he worked for District Attorney Dennis Sanders on the Toombs circuit from 1987 to 1992.

"I had a chance to observe everything the judges did, and to observe two very different styles," he said. That experience "whetted his appetite" for a judgeship, a desire he says comes from "a strong sense of dedication to the profession and the law, and just a desire to help people."

Augusta attorney Duncan Wheale is the only other announced candidate for the judge's seat, which opened when Judge Bernard J. Mulherin Sr., 65, decided in March to take senior status. Senior judges -- those 60 or older who have been on the bench more than 16 years -- are able to choose their own work schedules within their judicial circuit or in other Georgia counties.

"I don't consider this any retirement," Judge Mulherin said at a press conference in March. "I'm going to keep working. This frees up a seat for a younger lawyer."

Attorneys Bo Hunter and William J. Williams also have expressed interest in running for the seat, but neither has made a formal announcement.

Qualifying for the election begins Monday and lasts until May 1.

Mr. Annis said he plans to complete his term on the school board, which ends in January.

"(Elections board chairwoman Rudy) Mrs. Olson advised me to do that, since the terms won't overlap," he said.

Mr. Annis' tenure on the school board began in 1994, when he defeated Augusta Sportswear Vice President Ron Lewis after thenchairman Jim Points resigned from his seat.

"I have enjoyed it immensely," he said of his experience as a board member. "One of the reasons I anguished so much over this decision is that I'm leaving something I dearly love."

Staff writer Sandy Hodson contributed to this article.