Mar 8, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Fani Willis faces challengers in Fulton County District Attorney race

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis during a hearing on March 1 in Atlanta, Ga. Photo: Alex Slitz/Pool/Getty Images

Two attorneys on Friday qualified to enter the race against Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

Why it matters: Willis is facing increasing pressure amid allegations of an improper relationship with a special prosecutor she hired for the sweeping racketeering case against former President Trump and his co-defendants. Her ouster could potentially botch the case against them.

  • Willis is awaiting the judge's decision on whether she'll be dismissed from the election interference case, which would significantly damage the perhaps most serious criminal legal matter against the former president.

State of play: The Democratic primary election for the position is in May and the general election is in November.

  • Christian Wise Smith, who unsuccessfully ran against Willis four years ago, is challenging her once more in the primaries.
  • The only Republican who qualified by the Friday deadline is Courtney Kramer, who interned in the White House counsel's office under Trump in 2018, according to her law firm biography page.

Zoom in: Kramer has sharply condemned Willis and said the district attorney "should be held criminally liable" if she lied on her financial disclosures — allegations that have not been substantiated.

What they're saying: Wise Smith said in a statement that his decision to run "was made with Fulton County residents at heart."

  • He added that he looks "forward to engaging the community and earning the vote in Fulton County."
  • Kramer did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Background: Mike Roman, a Republican political operative and co-defendant in the racketeering case, alleged that Willis financially benefitted from special prosecutor Nathan Wade's hiring after he used some of the money he was paid to take Willis on trips.

  • Willis has strongly denied claims that her personal relationship resulted in a financial conflict of interest, and she's reiterated that she's not the one on trial.

Go deeper: Fani Willis testifies in hearing to remove her from the 2020 election case

Go deeper