Barry Fleming

ATLANTA – Gov. Brian Kemp has appointed longtime state Rep. Barry Fleming, R-Harlem, to a Superior Court judgeship in the Columbia Judicial Circuit succeeding the retiring Judge James Blanchard Jr.

Fleming, a lawyer, has served two stints in the Georgia House. He was first elected in 2002 after serving as chairman of the Columbia County Board of Commissioners.

Fleming stepped down in 2008 in an unsuccessful bid for Congress. He returned to the General Assembly in 2013.

Fleming has served in various leadership posts, including as House majority whip and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. He lost a bid for House speaker last year when he was defeated by current Speaker Jon Burns in a race to succeed the late Speaker David Ralston.

Fleming also headed a committee that steered controversial election reform legislation through the House two years ago.

Kemp must call a special election within 10 days of Fleming’s resignation from the House. The timing of his judicial appointment could put the special election on the same ballot as Georgia’s March 12 presidential primary.

Fleming’s 125th House District includes parts of Columbia and McDuffie counties.