fani willis

Former Fulton County Prosecutor Sets Challenge Against Fani Willis In Upcoming Election

Think he can take her?

A former prosecutor is running in the primary election to challenge Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. 

Democrat Christian Wise Smith entered the race in early March 2024. Shortly afterward he took a step back to “weigh his options” on how to press forward, but now he says he is ready.

“Primaries are an essential part of the democratic process, and voters deserve a choice,” Smith said. 

“I’m running to be that option to change the face of the justice system in Fulton County and make Fulton the safest county in the country.”

Both Smith and his challenger, Republican Courtney Kramer, are up against a lot. With Fulton County being a Democratic haven and Willis a recognizable political figure in the state, Willis has a significant advantage over the two trying to take her spot. However, Smith thinks his “victim-centered prosecution” tactics may hold some weight.

Smith and Kramer could also leverage the race into a fight over Willis’ handling of her racketeering case, charging Trump and 18 others with conspiring to overturn the 2020 presidential election. 

Smith isn’t challenging Willis based on the election interference trial or the recent ruling over allegations of an improper relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade. He used softer themes to state his case, saying he would “work with the community to be solutions-oriented and deliver results that focus on victim-centered prosecution, mass incarceration, dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline and eliminating the fear of crime.”

His checkered past prompted his stance on crime. According to Fox News, Smith was kicked out of school at 17 and heading down the wrong path. But after meeting a police officer who took a liking to him, he finished his education and became an attorney in 2012. Smith says his childhood experience made him want to make the country safer by working with the youth to reduce crime. 

Serving as Atlanta City solicitor and Fulton County prosecutor, Smith continued on that path during his 2020 campaign, receiving close to 23% of the Democratic vote. The issues he campaigned on included abolishing the death penalty, eliminating cash bail, and decriminalizing drug possession.

After backing out, Smith endorsed District Attorney Paul Howard in the runoff, saying he was “troubled” with Willis receiving the support of the Atlanta Police Union. 

Willis, who defeated Howard, a six-term incumbent, in a head-to-head runoff, has now filed her qualifying paperwork for re-election and said she is “unfazed” by her challengers. She stressed her commitment to bringing Trump to justice.

Party primaries are scheduled for May 21, with the general election on Nov. 5.