ATLANTA (AP) – Fulton County commissioners have selected a lobbyist for Stacey Abrams to lead their electoral committee while a state panel reviews how elections are conducted in Georgia’s most populous county.

The Fulton County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday voted to appoint former Atlanta City Council President Cathy Woolard to chair the five-member County Board of Registration and Elections. Her nomination by the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, Robb Pitts, was successful, despite Foreign Secretary Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s chief electoral officer, condemning the election.

Raffensperger, a Republican facing a major challenge next year, protested what he called an “apparently political appointment” because Woolard had registered earlier this year as a lobbyist for Fair Fight Action, a group led by Abrams was founded, a Democrat who narrowly lost the race for Republican Governor Brian Kemp in 2018. Though she didn’t say she was running, it is widely expected that she will challenge Kemp to a rematch next year.

“Fulton County needs to think twice before appointing someone to be bought and paid by Stacey Abrams to run elections in Fulton County,” Raffensperger said in a press release Tuesday. He said it would “do incredible damage to the already terrible reputation Fulton has for conducting elections”.

Raffensperger said in the press release that if Woolard is in charge, he would seek the removal of the entire district electoral committee by invoking a provision in Georgia’s new electoral law.

Pitts, who has bargained many times with the secretary of state, said Woolard was a long-time official who was well qualified for the role. He accused Raffensperger of “playing political games”.

“I wish we had a secretary of state who cares about Fulton County’s voters as much as winning its upcoming primary, but we’re not,” said Pitts. “Fortunately, here in Fulton County we now have Ms. Woolard to fill the void where his leadership has failed.”

Fulton County, home to about 11% of the state’s electorate, is a Democratic stronghold that encompasses most of the city of Atlanta. It has a long history of electoral problems and has been a consistent target for Republicans. After the district’s primary elections were overshadowed by problems last year, an independent observer was appointed as part of a consent order with the state election committee.

This observer observed the Fulton County’s election process from October through January and wrote that he saw “bad trials” and “systemic disorganization” but found no “illegality, fraud or willful misconduct.”

Former President Donald Trump targeted Fulton after narrowly losing Georgia in the November general election, claiming without evidence that fraud in the county contributed to President Joe Biden’s victory.

The state electoral board set up a three-person review panel last month to examine Fulton County’s handling of elections after receiving inquiries from Republican lawmakers representing the county. The legislature used a controversial provision of the state’s comprehensive new electoral law, which provides a way for the state to take over elections in a county.

Woolard thanked Pitts and other commissioners for their assistance after they were selected for the job.

“My experience as candidate and chairman of the Atlanta City Council gives me perspective and context for the challenges we face as voters and officials in conducting safe and fair elections,” Woolard tweeted. “I’m looking forward to getting started.”