DeKalb County CEO runoff election results: Lorraine Cochran-Johnson makes history with victory

DeKalb County voters headed back to the polls on Tuesday to decide whether former commissioners Lorraine Cochran-Johnson or Larry Johnson would replace DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond, who is restricted from running for another term.

Just before 10 p.m., Lorraine declared victory at her runoff election night party.

"I want to be very clear that tonight, you have entrusted me with moving DeKalb County forward. You have given me an opportunity, and I promise I'll make us proud," she said.

At the time, only 59% of precincts had reported in her race, but she was leading with 61% of the vote. 

During her victory speech, Cochran-Johnson gave her daughter a chance to speak. Her daughter burst into tears and told her she was proud of her.

By 10 p.m., all precincts were reporting. She led with 60% of the vote.

With her victory, Cochran-Johnson will be the first African American woman to hold the CEO position.

Lorraine Cochran-Johnson shared the spotlight with her daughter and husband as she declared an early victory in the DeKalb County CEO runoff race.

Why did the DeKalb County CEO race go to a runoff?

During the primary election last month, Cochran-Johnson pulled in 46% while Johnson garnered 34% of the vote. The two beat out Commissioner Steve Bradshaw, a Charlotte native who came to Georgia in 1977.

However, since no single candidate got 50% plus one vote to win outright, a runoff election was inevitable.

LIVE RESULTS: 2024 Georgia Primary Runoff All Results

The two candidates faced off in a televised and streamed debate on FOX 5 last week.

A poll ahead of the debate indicated Cochran-Johnson had an 18-point lead over Johnson.

Most polls officially closed at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Those who were already in line before that cut-off were still allowed to cast their vote.

FOX 5 Atlanta will provide results of the runoff elections on-air and online Tuesday night.

DeKalb County CEO Runoff Results

What does the DeKalb County CEO do?

According to Michael Thurmond, the job of the Chief Executive Officer involves "adopting a balanced budget, ensuring accurate water bills, removing blight, offering summer youth employment, improving employee compensation, and fulfilling the federal/state sewer consent agreement." 

Thurmond is retiring after eight years on the job. Prior to his role as Chief Executive Officer, Thurmond made history as the first African American to be elected to the Georgia General Assembly from Clarke County since the Reconstruction era. He's held several other high-profile jobs, like superintendent of DeKalb schools, labor commissioner and author.

Who is Lorraine Cochran-Johnson?

Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson (Supplied)

Lorraine Cochran-Johnson, a Greenville, Alabama-native was voted onto the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners in 2018. She represented Super District 7, up until she decided to run for the CEO position.

Cochran-Johnson has a background in political science and criminal justice, economic development, entrepreneurship and visual media. She's made it her platform to focus on issues like the housing crisis, gun violence, youth empowerment and support for small businesses.

Learn more about Lorraine.

Who is Larry Johnson?

Commissioner Larry Johnson (D-Dist. 3) (Supplied)

Larry Johnson is a health-focused DeKalb County commissioner of 22 years who represents District 3.

He served as the communications director for the Association of Black Cardiologists and as the former manager for the Fulton County Department of Health & Wellness, where he began a program to help eliminate the racial and ethnic disparities in health.

Learn more about Larry.