Sheriff's candidate Ezell Brown won the Democratic nomination by a landslide, while Republican candidates Stacey Cotton and Bill Watterson face a runoff round in August for the Republican nomination.
As of Tuesday night according to the unofficial results from the Newton County Board of Elections, Covington Police Chief Cotton received 49.17 percent of the vote, Newton County Sheriff's Office Lt. Bill Watterson received 28.04 percent, with NCSO Capt. Marty Roberts at 17.76 percent and DeKalb County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Chris Cowan at 5.03 percent.
Because Cotton narrowly missed a greater than 50 percent majority, he and Watterson will face off in an August 5 primary runoff to determine who will be the Republican nominee for the sheriff's race general election in November. Only those voters who registered and voted in the primary will be able to vote in the runoff.
Cotton, who was gathered with supporters at Jimbo's Restaurant and Grill in Porterdale, said he was a little disappointed at having to face a runoff. "We missed having a runoff by less than a percent. We've got the support that we felt like we would have," he said, adding that it was rare not to have a runoff when there were so many candidates in a primary race.
Watterson heard the results as they came in precinct by precinct as he was gathered with his family at the Administration Building. "We've got a lot of good people working and got to keep up the momentum," he said.
"I wish I could have had more personal contact (with the voters) and let the get to meet me," said Watterson, who added that he had been campaigning door to door for the past week but hadn't been able to reach every single neighborhoods in the county.
NCSO Lt. Ezell Brown received 72.4 percent of the Democratic vote while NCSO Lt. Gwen Hightower received 27.6 percent.
"I feel that I'm the person for the job and I think the voters today confirmed that by nominating me as the democratic contender," said Brown. "We're looking forward to the race in November."
About 95.8 percent of the vote had been counted as of Tuesday night, excluding absentee ballots.