Race for Clayton County sheriff appears headed to a runoff

Most races in Mableton headed to run off, as well
Clayton County voters leave Morrow City Hall after voting for Clayton County sheriff on Tuesday, March 21, 2023.  (Natrice Miller/ natrice.miller@ajc.com)

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Clayton County voters leave Morrow City Hall after voting for Clayton County sheriff on Tuesday, March 21, 2023. (Natrice Miller/ natrice.miller@ajc.com)

The highly-watched race to replace convicted felon Victor Hill as sheriff of Clayton County appears to be headed to an April runoff.

Turnout was light in Tuesday’s special election, in which Hill’s protégé Levon Allen appeared to fall short of winning the office outright, despite the former sheriff turning over his Facebook page to his preferred candidate and stumping all over the county on Allen’s behalf.

Allen received about 47% of the vote in unofficial totals in the five-man race while his closest competitor, Clarence Cox, chief investigator for the Fulton County Solicitor General’s Office, received about 29%.

If the totals hold in an official count, the two will meet in a runoff rematch April 18.

Clayton voters also overwhelmingly approved a $435 million bond referendum to raise $350 million for school improvements, including new buildings, updated sports facilities and a convocation center to be built on the grounds of the old Sears store at Southlake Mall.

Also on Clayton County ballots Tuesday were contests for House District 75, mayor of Jonesboro and two Jonesboro council seats.

Eric Bell will replace Mike Glanton as the state representative for House District 75 after winning about 62% of the vote Tuesday. Glanton resigned from his Clayton County area seat in late January after 14 years in office.

In the Jonesboro mayor’s race, Donya Sartor appeared Tuesday to defeat challenger Pat Sebo-Hand while Alfred Dixon bested Arlene Charles for one of the two council seats. Don Dixon was unopposed in his quest for the other council seat.

But the race for sheriff was the main event. It garnered metro-wide attention because of Hill, who led Clayton County’s sheriff’s office with an iron fist for almost two decades. The controversial ex-lawman fancied himself a super-hero crusader, often using the Batman signal in social media postings that boasted of criminals locked up by the sheriff’s office.

He was convicted in October by a federal jury of violating the civil rights of six detainees at the Clayton jail by strapping them into restraint chairs as punishment.

AJC Election results

Runoffs in Mableton

The mayor’s race and four of the six council races in the city of Mableton appear to be heading to runoff elections, based on unofficial election results Tuesday night.

Candidates needed to receive over 50% of the vote to win outright. In Mableton, all of the races that had more than two candidates will be heading to a runoff election on April 18.

Aaron Carman — the mayoral candidate backed by the group that advocated against cityhood and later pushed to be de-annexed from the city — received the majority of the votes with about 36%. He will face Michael Owens, who received just over 30%, in the mayoral runoff.

A total of 6,041 people voted, a low turnout rate for the over 47,200 registered voters in Cobb County’s largest city. Most candidates were only separated by a few hundred votes.

Results are unofficial until certified next week. To see complete unofficial results, go to the Secretary of State’s website or cobbelections.org.

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