Three lawyers are running for the Lexington County-centric state judgeship to be vacated next year by longtime Circuit Court Judge Knox McMahon.
The three candidates were endorsed as “qualified and nominated” this week by the state Judicial Merit Selection Commission, which screens candidates.
▪ Kyliene Keesley, an Edgefield native and partner in a Columbia law firm. A 2001 Wofford College graduate, she graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2004. She is the daughter of Circuit Court Judge Billy Keesley. Her law office is in Columbia.
▪ Walton “Tad” McLeod IV, a Columbia native who grew up in Little Mountain in Newberry County. He graduated from Tulane University in 2001 and the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2008. A former officer in the U.S. Navy, McLeod is the son of longtime former state Rep. Walton McLeod, D-Newberry. He practices law in Columbia.
▪ Robert Madsen, a public defender in the 11th Judicial Circuit. A 1992 graduate of Ohio State University, Madsen is a 1996 graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law.
One of the three will be elected by the General Assembly to fill the 11th Judicial Circuit post. The election is set for Feb. 1. The circuit is made up of Lexington, McCormick, Saluda and Edgefield counties.
Circuit Court judges are paid about $134,000 a year. Once elected, they virtually are assured of re-election. The judges try serious civil and criminal matters, including death penalty and public corruption cases.