Metro Atlanta voters weigh in on key local races

Georgia is still reeling from a disastrous election day that included reports of malfunctioning machines, long lines and delayed result tabulation.

Results continued to trickle in Wednesday. But as of press time, tens of thousands of absentee ballots were still outstanding in several metro counties, making it difficult to draw concrete conclusions about many races.

Those include the important local races detailed below. Many results are incomplete and all are unofficial.

Please return for updates.

CLAYTON COUNTY

Incumbent District 2 Commissioner Gail Hambrick and incumbent District 3 Commissioner Felicia Franklin Warner both appeared to have handily defeated several opponents and avoided runoffs.

Voters also approved a new five-year, $280-million SPLOST program.

COBB COUNTY

Tens of thousands of outstanding ballots were still being counted throughout the county, a process that officials said may last until Friday.

But as of press time Wednesday, incumbent Commission Chairman Mike Boyce appeared to have pulled ahead of his two Republican challengers, setting the stage for a showdown with Democrat and fellow commissioner Lisa Cupid in November.

In the sheriff’s race, three Democrats -- Craig Owens, Gregory Gilstrap and James Herndon -- are competing for a chance to face off against incumbent Sheriff Neil Warren.

Owens was leading but none of the three candidates had reached the 50% of votes required to capture the nomination outright.

In the District 2 East Cobb commission race, Fitz Johnson was leading but still short of 50 percent. The race for second remained very close.

In the District 4 South Cobb commission race, where seven Democrats were running to replace Cupid, no one was close to capturing 50%. As of Wednesday afternoon, Shelia Edwards and Monique Sheffield were the frontrunners for a potential runoff.

DEKALB COUNTY

Among other key contests, DeKalb voters cast ballots in two separate sheriff’s elections Tuesday.

But even by Wednesday afternoon, no comprehensive results were available. It appeared that most election day voting had been tallied but no advanced voting, absentee or provisional ballots had been counted.

Election board chairman Sam Tillman told the AJC that the county was still sifting through as many as 140,000 absentee ballots.

In a twice-delayed special election to fill the unfinished term of former Sheriff Jeffrey Mann, which runs through the end of the year, incumbent Melody Maddox was facing eight challengers. In the most recent results, Maddox had a lead with Ruth “The Truth” Stringer and Antonio “Block” Johnson competing for second and a runoff spot.

Voters also cast ballots in primaries to determine the candidates that will square off in November in the election to become DeKalb’s next full-term sheriff.

Maddox faced seven of the same challengers in the Democratic primary. The incumbent sheriff had a lead with Stringer and Johnson battling for second in that race as well.

The eventual winner will take on lone Republican Harold Dennis in the fall.

Democratic DeKalb voters were also choosing between three candidates to represent the commission’s Super District 6, which covers the western half of the county. Maryam Ahmad, Emily Halevy and Ted Terry were all vying to replace the retiring Kathie Gannon.

Ahmad had an initial lead.

Several Democrats were also competing in a Democratic primary for Commission District 1, with the eventual winner taking on incumbent Republican Nancy Jester in November.

Cynthia Yaxon had an initial lead.

FAYETTE COUNTY

Fayette County was also lagging in reporting full results.

With 83% of precincts reporting, incumbent District 5 Commissioner Charles Oddo appeared likely to fend off two Republican challengers and avoid a runoff. He would face Democrat William Lightle in November.

With 80% of precincts reporting, District 1 Commissioner Eric Maxwell had a sizable lead over Republican challenger Sonja Gibson. Democrat Vickie Butler awaits the winner.

With 75% of precincts reporting in District 2, incumbent Commissioner Randy Ognio was closely trailing challenger Lee Hearn.

FULTON COUNTY

With a large percentage of advance and absentee ballots still outstanding Wednesday afternoon, embattled District Attorney Paul Howard appeared headed for a runoff with former prosecutor Fani Willis.

Incumbent Sheriff Ted Jackson also appeared headed for a runoff in his Democratic primary. Patrick Labat and Myron Freeman were battling for second.

With 90% of precincts reporting, incumbent District 4 Commissioner Natalie Hall appeared to have a comfortable lead over Democratic challenger Kathryn Flowers for the right to square off against Republican Barbara Gresham in November.

In District 6, Democrat Khadijah Abdur-Rahman had opened up a sizable lead over incumbent Joe Carn.

GWINNETT COUNTY

Gwinnett County officials said Wednesday that a large number of absentee ballots were not yet included in totals.

But in the sheriff’s race, to replace Butch Conway, Democrats Curtis Clemons and Keybo Taylor appeared headed for a runoff.

Lou Solis handily won the Republican primary.

Democrat Patsy Austin-Gaston bested Wesley Person in their primary for District Attorney. The winner will face Republican incumbent Danny Porter this fall.

In the race for the county commission chair, to replace Charlotte Nash, David Post appeared to win the Republican primary by a healthy margin.

Among the Democrats, Nicole Love Hendrickson had a strong lead among the group of five candidates, but was just shy of 50% of the vote. Desmond Nembhard was leading in the race for second place.

In the District 1 commission race, Laurie McClain had a commanding lead over Jacqueline Tseng on the Republican ticket. She will face Democrat Kirkland Carden in November.

In the District 3 commission race, Ben Archer was leading among the Republicans, but was shy of 50% of the vote. He appeared likely to face Matt Dereimer in a runoff.

Among the Democrats, Derrick J. Wilson was leading a field of five. Jasper Watkins III and John Henry Moye Jr. were battling for second place.

HENRY COUNTY

In Henry County, the race to replace longtime Sheriff Keith McBrayer drew several candidates from both sides of the aisle.

Jack Redlinger appeared to have emerged from the Republican primary. On the crowded Democratic side, Reginald Scandrett and Tony Brown appeared headed for a runoff.

Incumbent District 2 Commissioner Dee Clemons appeared to have won his Democratic primary outright and will face Republican challenger Steve Richardson in November.

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