Published 3:01 am Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Covington County will soon have a new circuit judge, and a new probate judge.

Current Probate Judge Ben Bowden won his bid for election as circuit judge with 52 percent of the votes cast. Challenger Corey Bwryan received 48 percent of the votes.

Former District Judge Trippy McGuire congratulates Ben Bowden.

Former District Judge Trippy McGuire congratulates Ben Bowden.

“I’d like to say thank you to all the people who voted, and who went the extra mile to help,” Bowden said. “I appreciate the family and close friends who stood by me through this election.

“Corey and his family are to be commended,” Bowden said. “They campaigned very hard, and I respect the effort they put into his campaign.”

Bryan also expressed his thanks to supporters.

“There are so many people who love us here in Covington County,” he said. “We have great friends in Covington County. I met a lot of people I didn’t know, and some of them will be lifelong friends. “

Bryan said he felt that age was the deciding factor in the race.

“My opponent’s 11 years my elder, and for a lot of people, my age was a factor,” he said.

The two men were vying for the seat that will be left open by presiding Circuit Judge Ashley McKathan’s decision not to run and his impending retirement. McKathan has said he will retire at the end of March.

Even though he has no Democratic challenger, technically, Bowden would not be elected until after the November General Election. It is presumed that Gov. Robert Bentley will appoint Bowden to fill the remaining months of McKathan’s term. Bentley also will appoint Bowden’s successor in the probate judge’s office.

“I’ve been here seven years, and I’ve really not prepared to leave,” Bowden said. “It will take a little while to extract myself from this job.

“I’ve always said the best job in the courthouse is the probate judge’s. That being said, I’m really excited about the challenge of serving as circuit judge, and look forward to getting to work.”