Election results: Clayton County Sheriff's race likely headed into runoff
CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. - It looks like the race to determine who will fill the remaining term for ex-Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill is headed to a runoff next month.
Georgia requires candidates to receive 50% plus one vote to outright win an election, but due to it being a special election without a primary, a number of candidates were on the ballots. This statistically increased the likelihood of a runoff in those races.
Residents voted in a special election Tuesday to fill the remaining term for ex-Sheriff Victor Hill.
Five candidates were on the ballot to replace the former sheriff, including interim Sheriff Levon Allen. It appears Allen will face Clarence Cox in a runoff on April 18.
Hill was sentenced to 18 months in prison for violating the constitutional rights of detainees inside the Clayton County Jail by ordering them held in restraint chairs for hours.
Hill's departure was met with mixed reaction as Clayton County residents headed to the polls.
Did Victor Hill influence the Clayton County Sheriff's race?
The Roarks thought the ex-sheriff did a good job during his tenure, which made his criminal conviction even more disappointing.
"It's just the way society is now," Roark told FOX 5's Deidra Dukes. "People have to understand there are consequences of what they do."
The former sheriff has been a controversial figure during his four terms in office.
He first drew backlash after firing employees after taking office in 2005. He lost his bid for re-election after one term.
Hill was re-elected in 2012, and was suspended last year following the filing of federal abuse charges.
Michael Williams and others critical of the former sheriff said change is long overdue.
"With all the press surrounding him it's always been in a negative connotation as opposed to something positive and uplifting for the community as a whole, said Williams."
Dale Barham says he wants a break from the past.
"I think the priorities should be the civilians and community engagement," Barham said. "You kind of do want a course correct."
Barham was one of a handful of voters casting their ballots for sheriff at the old Clayton County courthouse just before the polls closed. He says he wants the county to head in a different direction after Hill’s tumultuous tenure.
"You kind of want to avoid those problems that the prior leadership had," Barham said.
Costin says she is looking for a sheriff who will protect Clayton County citizens while respecting the law.
"We needed somebody different, someone who wasn’t tainted," Costin said. "Someone who has the people’s back. We somebody who really is going to stand up for us."
ELECTION RESULTS: CITY OF MABLETON, CLAYTON COUNTY SPECIAL ELECTIONS
Who will likely be in the runoff for Clayton County Sheriff?
Levon Allen was the leader on Tuesday, pulling about 47% of the vote. He will likely face Clarence Cox, who pulled in about 29% of the vote, in a runoff on April 18.
The FOX 5 I-Team reported on Allen's meteoric rise in the department going from deputy sheriff to the number two man in the department, chief deputy, in five years. The jump included a $100,000 salary increase.
The I-Team also reported on Allen spending nearly $50,000 in taxpayer's money to put his name, and sometimes image, on billboards, cars, and theater screens as he campaigned to remain sheriff. It has roused several critics.
Clarence Cox stepped into the race with 38-years of law enforcement experience. He was previously the chief investigator with the Fulton County Solicitor General’s Office, a past National President of the National Organization of the Black Law Enforcement Executives, and the leader of Convoy of Care.
Cox was the third Black deputy hired by Clayton County in 1982 and one of the original members of the Georgia Homeland Security Task Force, currently known as the Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center.