The Commercial Appeal profiles two judges that unseated incumbents in the last election in Two Karens ready for black robes.

The first is Karen Massey, an assistant public defender and former military intelligence officer. The endorsements for Massey were split along party lines, yet she was able to beat General Sessions Criminal Court Judge Mischelle Alexander-Best by 10,000 votes (a margin of 5.7 points).

She attributed her win to campaigning long hours in the hot sun and to the hard work of her parents, siblings and extended family.

“We put in a lot of hard work, and my parents can’t even vote for me,” Massey said with a laugh. “They live in Fayette County.”

Next is Karen Webster, who had virtually no endorsements. Her opponent, longtime Probate Court Judge Donn Southern, was endorsed by both the Democrat and Republican parties.tory Yet Webster was able to take him down, albeit by the slimest of margins — a mere 588 votes out of 114,000 cast (a margin of 0.6 points).

In his endorsement letter, Attorney Richard Fields noted:

Probate Court deals with estates from a shotgun house to businesses worth millions of dollars. It requires knowledge of tax laws, constant updates of legislative changes, and sensitivity to people who have lost their loved ones.

Fields said that Judge Southern was experienced, knowledgeable and fair, and had this to say about Webster:

His opponent, Karen D. Webster, has absolutely no qualifications to be a Probate Judge. She has had few cases in Probate Court and none of a complex nature. Her previous experience as a city prosecutor and county contract attorney did not involve probate matters. She simply is not qualified for such a specialized court as Probate Court.

Two candidates. The one with only conservative endorsements (in a county of overwhelming Democrat population and trending more so) wins easily. The one whose opponent received every endorsement eeks out a win.