Gwinnett solicitor general Brian Whiteside defeated in primary

051722 Lawrenceville: Gwinnett County Solicitor General Brian Whiteside holds a news conference at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Lawrenceville, Ga. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

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051722 Lawrenceville: Gwinnett County Solicitor General Brian Whiteside holds a news conference at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Lawrenceville, Ga. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Gwinnett County Solicitor General Brian Whiteside lost the Democratic primary Tuesday to challenger Lisamarie Bristol.

Whiteside will leave office after one term. He was elected four years ago as Gwinnett’s first Black solicitor general and one of the first Democrats to win countywide office in decades.

The solicitor general prosecutes misdemeanors and county ordinance violations.

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In a sign of Gwinnett’s dramatic political shift, both of this year’s solicitor general candidates were Black Democrats. With no Republicans on the ballot, Bristol will run unopposed in the November election.

“When I launched my campaign I pledged to the citizens of Gwinnett County that I was running for Solicitor General to keep Gwinnett safe and ensure justice for all,” Bristol said in a statement to friends and supporters. “As the next Solicitor-General of Gwinnett County I look forward to upholding that commitment. There is so much good that can be done now to help ensure justice, provide for a fair, efficient, and orderly criminal justice process, to prevent crime and reduce recidivism, and to help victims of crime, including the victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.”

Whiteside said Wednesday afternoon he was unavailable for comment.

According to Bristol’s campaign biography, she is an attorney with more than 10 years of experience in criminal law. She graduated from Georgia State University’s law school and has worked as both a public defender and a prosecutor. She is married with three children.

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Whiteside is a colorful figure who grabbed attention during his tenure for ending misdemeanor marijuana prosecutions in Gwinnett — and for attempting to close state court in January amid the omicron wave of COVID-19, earning him a contempt citation that was settled with an apology.

The state ethics commission fined Whiteside last year after he failed to submit campaign disclosures from his 2018 run for more than two years.