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Gov. Nathan Deal’s Judicial Nominating Commission has whittled a list of 17 candidates for Gwinnett County Superior Court down to four finalists.

Deal’s office said on Wednesday that the JNC recommended to the governor:

• Teresa Hoyt, an assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, who earned her law degree from Emory University and was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 1980;

• H. Jeff Lanier Sr., deputy legislative counsel for the Georgia General Assembly, who earned his law degree from the University of Georgia and was admitted to the bar in 1978;

• Gwinnett County State Court Judge Randolph Rich, who earned his law degree from Georgia State University and was admitted to the bar in 1992;

• Laura Tate; a Gwinnett County magistrate and Suwanee Municipal Court judge, who earned her law degree from Wake Forest University and was admitted to the bar in 1986.

They are vying to fill a vacancy on the Superior Court bench created by the retirement of longtime Judge Michael Clark.