Fulton County prosecutor Fani Willis and Trump 2020 election judge draw primary challengers. (Part-1)

Atlanta — A progressive Democrat and a Republican who briefly worked in Donald Trump's administration entered the Fulton County district attorney's race Friday to oppose Fani Willis, who has been under scrutiny and embarrassing public testimony and is awaiting a judge's decision on whether to remove her from the Georgia election interference case against the former president.

Attorney Christian Wise Smith, who challenged Willis four years ago, is opposing her in the May Democratic primary. Only one Republican, Courtney Kramer, who interned in Trump's White House counsel's office for three months in 2018, qualified by midday Friday. This November is the general election.

In May, civil rights attorney Robert Patillo and staff attorney Tiffani Johnson filed a nonpartisan challenge to Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, who is presiding over the election interference case.

Despite their rarity, the 2020 election interference case has brought these races to the national limelight. In August, Willis indicted Trump and 18 others for allegedly trying to reverse his state election loss to Joe Biden. The last two months have been dominated by Willis' romantic involvement with a special prosecutor and if it disqualifies her from prosecuting.

Willis and Wise Smith, who worked for then-District Attorney Paul Howard in Fulton County, challenged him in the 2020 Democratic primary. The November general election was uncontested after Willis defeated Howard in a runoff.

On January 2, 2021, a day after she took office, Trump made a rambling call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, imploring him to “find 11,780 votes” to overturn his tight loss to Biden. Willis announced her probe into “attempts to influence” Georgia's general election the following month.

Trump and his allies have called the probe and indictment a political attack. Recent court filings and dramatic hearings have revealed Willis' romance with special prosecutor Nathan Wade, with attorneys for Trump and other defendants alleging that she improperly benefited when Wade used his earnings to pay for vacations.

Progressive Democrats have also blasted Willis for the election case and many high-profile racketeering cases involving famous rap artists, saying they waste court resources while inmates linger in the overcrowded, dangerous Fulton County Jail. After her relationship with Wade was discovered, even her closest aides and supporters questioned her judgment.

Willis' campaign website promotes her “major indictments against gang leaders,” “transparent process” for police cases, and school mentorship program. Willis told reporters Wednesday after qualifying to run, “I've said it before, being the district attorney of Fulton County is the greatest honor of my life. I adore this community. Home is mine. I raised my kids there. I want to stay safe there.”