One-third of Georgia’s sheriffs back Gary Black’s Senate bid

U.S. Senate candidate Gary Black won the endorsements of one-third of Georgia’s 159 sheriffs, giving the Republican an important network of local law enforcement support as he competes to challenge Democrat Raphael Warnock next year.

Black announced the 60 endorsements days after he told the Georgia Sheriffs Association he would fight “anti-cop rhetoric” in Washington: “I may not wear a gun or badge, but it’s going to be my job to make sure you can use both when necessary.”

The endorsements are the latest sign that the state’s Republican establishment is growing tired of waiting on Herschel Walker to decide on a run -- or unconvinced he would be a strong candidate even with Donald Trump’s support. The former football great, who has lived in Texas for decades, has repeatedly said he’s in no hurry to join the race.

They also give Black, a three-term agriculture commissioner, a chance to highlight a theme that Republicans have quickly turned into a 2022 campaign mainstay: A call for law-and-order and increased police funding to halt the comeback attempt by resurgent Democrats.

The 60 sheriffs represent swathes of rural Georgia, though several from larger counties are on the list, including Fayette County Sheriff Barry Babb.

Black can also claim bipartisan support, since at least six of the sheriffs are Democrats: Mike Dewey of Brooks County, Doug Hanks of Cook County, Wiley Griffin of Decatur County, Robert Oglesby of Jenkins County, Nick Norton of Lanier County and Craig Nobles of Long County.

Black is the best known of three Republicans in the race, a group that also includes military veterans Kelvin King and Latham Saddler. The commissioner previously won former Gov. Nathan Deal’s endorsement, though many other Republican leaders are staying on the sidelines.

The uncertainty underscores how unsettled the field remains, as senior Republicans worry that Walker’s long history of erratic and violent behavior, his no-shows on the campaign trail and his long-standing residency in Texas could weaken his bid.

Black last week became the first GOP candidate to publicly criticize Walker, calling on the Texan to move to Georgia, “register and vote in some elections and learn what Georgians have on their minds” before entering the race.

Here’s a list of Black’s endorsements:

Appling County

Sheriff Mark Melton

Bacon County

Sheriff Andy Batten

Banks County

Sheriff Carlton Speed

Barrow County

Sheriff Jud Smith

Berrien County

Sheriff Ray Paulk

Bleckley County

Sheriff Kris Coody

Brooks County

Sheriff Mike Dewey

Bulloch County

Sheriff Noel Brown

Camden County

Sheriff Jim Proctor

Candler County

Sheriff John Miles

Catoosa County

Sheriff Gary Sisk

Clinch County

Sheriff Stephen Tinsley

Colquitt County

Sheriff Rod Howell

Cook County

Sheriff Doug Hanks

Coweta County

Sheriff Lenn Wood

Crisp County

Sheriff Billy Hanock

Decatur County

Sheriff Wiley Griffin

Echols County

Sheriff Randy Courson

Emanuel County

Sheriff Jeffrey Brewer

Fannin County

Sheriff Dane Kirby

Fayette County

Sheriff Barry Babb

Floyd County

Sheriff Dave Roberson

Gilmer County

Sheriff Stacy Nicholson

Glascock County

Sheriff Jeremy Kelley

Glynn County

Sheriff Neal Jump

Grady County

Sheriff Harry Young

Habersham County

Sheriff Joey Terrell

Hall County

Sheriff Gerald Couch

Haralson County

Sheriff Stacy Williams

Hart County

Sheriff Mike Cleveland

Houston County

Sheriff Cullen Talton

Jackson County

Sheriff Janis Mangum

Jeff Davis County

Sheriff Preston Bohannon

Jenkins County

Sheriff Robert Oglesby

Jones County

Sheriff Butch Reece

Lamar County

Sheriff Brad White

Lanier County

Sheriff Nick Norton

Laurens County

Sheriff Larry Dean

Long County

Sheriff Craig Nobles

Lowndes County

Sheriff Ashley Paulk

Lumpkin County

Sheriff Stacy Jarrard

Madison County

Sheriff Michael Moore

Murray County

Sheriff Jimmy Davenport

Oconee County

Sheriff James Hale

Oglethorpe County

Sheriff David Gabriel

Pierce County

Sheriff Ramsey Bennett

Putnam County

Sheriff Howard Sills

Schley County

Sheriff Shane Tondee

Seminole County

Sheriff Heath Elliott

Tattnall County

Sheriff Kyle Sapp

Taylor County

Sheriff Jeff Watson

Tift County

Sheriff Gene Scarbrough

Toombs County

Sheriff Junior Kight

Turner County

Sheriff Andy Hester

Twiggs County

Sheriff Darren Mitchum

Upson County

Sheriff Dan Kilgore

Walton County

Sheriff Joe Chapman

Wayne County

Sheriff Chuck Moseley

White County

Sheriff Rick Kelley

Worth County

Sheriff Don Whitaker

About the Author