Tallapoosa, Ga. — One day this December, 42-year-old attorney Meng Lim will pack up his two kids and a freshly pressed black robe.
Sixty miles later, at the state Capitol, Lim will be sworn in as the first Cambodian-American of Chinese extraction ever to sit on a Superior Court bench in Georgia.
The election of a survivor of Cambodian genocide to an open seat in the Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit in west Georgia – a rural, two-county affair where Asian-Americans make up precisely .3 percent of the voting population – is perhaps the most remarkable, yet untold story to come out of last month’s runoff contests.
The Haralson County attorney won 62 percent of the vote in his July 22 runoff against Chuck Morris, a juvenile court judge from neighboring Polk County who had the support – financial and otherwise — of most of the area’s legal community.
Lim built his campaign largely on personal loans and the enthusiasm of a community that took him in as a 9-year-old boy who spoke no English and had never seen the inside of a classroom.