Barnette, Johnston win superintendent, circuit judge races

The Cullman County Courthouse was bustling Tuesday night, March 5, 2024, as ballots were counted and election results flooded in. (Lauren Bailey)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The third floor of the Cullman County Courthouse was busy Tuesday evening, March 5, as deputies slowly began bringing in ballot boxes from across the county after Primary Election polls closed at 7.

Cullman County Sheriff Matt Gentry shared, “On Election Day all hands are on deck and all of our staff is working hard with local offices to ensure that they are just and fair. This is an opportunity to use our constitutional right to vote and we are always very proud of hard work of the ladies in the office during the early morning and up until the night to take part in this process. Also, our deputies and staff also pour in and take care of the local polling places and check in on our workers. We are thankful for this opportunity to make our country great through the voting process.”

Incumbent Cullman County Schools Superintendent Dr. Shane Barnette easily won his race against challenger Morris Williams. The election, the first to take place since Cullman County voters decided the county superintendent position should be an elected one instead of appointed, saw Barnette claim 73.81% of the vote to Williams’ 26.19%.

The race for circuit court judge, 32nd Judicial Court, place 2, was much closer. Cullman County Attorney Emily Niezer Johnston edged out local attorney Melvin Hasting, 54.48% to 45.52%. Johnston will take the seat of retiring Circuit Court Judge Martha Williams.

Another local race on the ballot was Cullman County Board of Education member, place 1. Larry Duke took 73% of the vote to Steve Link’s 27%

Speaking after the election, Barnette said, “I am not a politician, I am an educator, and my life goal has always been to do what’s right by the students. It’s what I will continue to do. The goal is to create opportunities for young people and continue to do so. We have a strategic plan already set in place and we are not going to waiver from that. The goal will still be to develop more opportunities for young people so they can be successful. The kids will always be first.”

Said Johnston, “I want to thank the voters of Cullman County for this opportunity and I look forward to serving the county I love.”

Democratic President Joe Biden and Republican Former President Donald Trump won easily, as did incumbent Congressman Robert Aderholt, R-Alabama.

For a complete list of state and national results, see

The General Election will take place Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2024.

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