Henry County Democrats make more inroads in Tuesday election

Henry County Commission Chairwoman June Wood lost her reelection on Tuesday.



Henry County Commission Chairwoman June Wood lost her reelection on Tuesday.

Henry Democrats won the county chairmanship and sheriff’s office Tuesday, further changing the once conservative metro Atlanta suburb into a more liberal bastion.

Republican June Wood, who became the first African-American chairwoman of the Henry County Commission in 2016, was defeated Tuesday in a rematch with her opponent from four years ago, Democrat Carlotta Harrell.

Meanwhile Democrat Reginald Scandrett defeated Republican Jack Redlinger to become the county’s next sheriff. The position became available after longtime Sheriff Keith McBrayer, a Republican, announced earlier 2019 that he intended to retire at the end of his term on Dec. 31, 2020.

The Democratic pickups reflect the changing demographics of Henry County, a once rural, majority white community that has become majority minority over the past several years, said Joshua Meddaugh, associate professor of political science at Clayton State University. Henry also is the second-fastest growing county in metro Atlanta.

“The area is moving to be more representative of south metro Atlanta,” he said. “That shift in the last 10 to 15 years in Henry County from pretty rural to now an urban, very thriving suburb is like a lot of the country that is urban and going blue.”

Harrell’s win gives Democrats a 4-2 advantage on the commission, a shift from just a few years ago when Republicans held the majority.

Democrats won in two other contested races. Democrat County Commissioner Dee Clemmons retained her District 2 seat after defeating Republican Steve Richardson. Sabriya Hill, a Democrat, unseated incumbent Republican Superior Court Clerk Barbara Harrison in their matchup.

“When there is a blue wave like there was Tuesday in metro Atlanta candidates can get swept away,” Meddaugh said.