Fani Willis and judge presiding over Georgia Trump election case defeat challengers

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and Judge Scott McAfee have both won their reelection campaigns.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee at his election night watch party at Mutation Brewing Company in Sandy Springs, Georgia, on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. (Matthew Pearson/WABE)

This story was updated on Tuesday at 10:14 p.m.

The prosecutor and judge overseeing the Georgia criminal case against former President Donald Trump both easily defeated challengers in local elections on Tuesday. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis won the Democratic primary and Judge Scott McAfee won a full term on the bench. 

At Mutation Brewing in Sandy Springs, McAfee supporters mingled around a bar decorated with stars and stripes, sipping brews with names like the Teddy Brewsevelt as returns trickled in. 

McAfee was 33 when Republican Gov. Brian Kemp appointed him to a vacancy on the Fulton Superior Court. A few months later, the court randomly assigned him the Trump case. Now that the judge has won his first campaign, he says he is ready to get back to his docket. 

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis arrives before she speaks after winning reelection in the primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Atlanta, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

“The message here that I’m getting is that I need to get back to work, to get back in the courtroom to keep doing what we have been doing, which is give both sides their fair day in court, to be treated with respect and get the job done,” McAfee said. 

Despite pushback from their election opponents over the Trump case, McAfee and Willis were buoyed by their prominent roles in those proceedings. 

Willis took office as the county’s first Black woman DA just days after Trump’s infamous phone call to Georgia officials asking to find him votes. Since then, she has become a household name for prosecuting Trump. The path has not always been smooth.

McAfee allowed Willis to stay on Trump’s case only if the top prosecutor she hired and had been in a relationship with resigned. This month, an appeals court agreed to review that decision, further dimming chances of a trial this year. 

At a historic mansion in Buckhead, Willis celebrated her win with a live band and flowing drinks. In her victory speech, Willis stressed her commitment to equal justice, despite her critics and said Fulton County voters delivered a clear message.

“They want a district attorney that believes everyone deserves to be safe and everyone is entitled to some dignity,” Willis said. “And it’s a message that’s pissing some folks off, but there is no one above the law in this country, nor is there anyone beneath it.”

While McAfee has secured his seat by winning his nonpartisan election, Willis still faces a Republican challenger this fall. That GOP opponent served on Trump’s Georgia legal team after the 2020 election.

With Tuesday’s campaign over, the Trump case now chugs on. Pre-trial hearings continue next week.

WABE’s Matthew Pearson contributed reporting.