- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A Circuit Court judge from Sumter is expected to be South Carolina’s newest Supreme Court justice.

Judge George James is the lone remaining candidate for the vacancy created by Don Beatty’s ascension to chief justice earlier this month. The Legislature will formally vote on Beatty’s successor during a joint session Wednesday.

James is the last man standing after his competitors, also circuit court judges, withdrew.

Judge Diane Goodstein of Summerville took herself out of the race Monday. Judge Keith Kelly of Moore withdrew last Wednesday.

James will serve the remainder of Beatty’s associate term, which expires in 2020.

Beatty replaced Costa Pleicones, who had to retire Dec. 31 after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 72. He was chief justice for just one year.

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