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Newton County reelects Sheriff Ezell Brown to fourth term
Bailey-Butts ousts three-term incumbent coroner Davis; Jordan defeats incumbent Darby for tax commissioner's seat
Ezell Brown
Sheriff Ezell Brown

COVINGTON, Ga. — Newton County voters chose to stay with Sheriff Ezell Brown's "proven leadership" in the office Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Brown won 56% of the vote to easily turn back a challenge from Republican Ken Malcom for a fourth term as sheriff.

He said late Tuesday he wanted to give "thanks to the voters of Newton County for the vote of confidence in proven leadership." 

"We are now ready to continue the work together which includes making Newton County safe for all," Brown said, adding he would give a more detailed statement later.

Malcom said Wednesday, Nov. 4, he was “very proud of our campaign team."

"We ran an excellent race and I can hold my head up high knowing we did the best that we could do," he said. "I have no regrets. 

"I love Newton County and want what’s best for it," Malcom said. "I look forward to continuing my service to the people who live, work and play in our great community." 

The two candidates had spent almost $113,000 from the start of their campaigns until Sept. 30 — with Malcom spending $86,000 and Brown $26,000, according to their latest campaign finance reports.

The Newton County sheriff is the county’s chief law enforcement officer and jailer. The position is chiefly responsible for providing law enforcement service in Newton County’s unincorporated area; maintaining and operating the county jail; providing courthouse security; and serving civil papers and arrest warrants.  

Newton County Sheriff:

Ken Malcom (R), 23,497 votes, or 44%

Ezell Brown (D) (i), 30,102 votes, or 56%.

Countywide races for coroner and tax commissioner and two contested county commission seats also were on Tuesday’s ballot.

Tax Commissioner

Democrat Marcus Jordan ousted Republican incumbent Dana Darby for the job of chief tax collector for the county.

The tax commissioner oversees billing, collecting, processing and distributing property taxes and serves as an agent of the state Revenue Commissioner for the registration of motor vehicles, according to information on the county website.

Darby was seeking a full four-year term after being sworn in as tax commissioner in September 2019 to complete the term of Barbara Dingler, who retired after 34 years in the office.

Jordan has served as chief appraiser in the county tax appraiser’s office since 2014. He has worked in the tax appraiser’s office for 21 years, including 12 years as the assistant chief appraiser.

Darby worked in the office for 20 years and served as chief deputy tax commissioner before her appointment.

Newton County Tax Commissioner:

Dana Darby (R) (i), 24,863 votes, or 47%.

Marcus Jordan (D), 28,436 votes, or 53%.


Incumbent Republican Tommy Davis lost a bid for a fourth term to Democrat Dorothea Bailey-Butts for the job Davis has held since 2008.

The county coroner is required to be notified and investigate deaths that meet criteria specified in state law, including suspicious or unexpected deaths and those caused by violence or suicide.

Bailey-Butts is a registered nurse and businesswoman. She publicly cited her experience in the medical field as a reason for supporting her candidacy.

Davis, who also is a funeral director, served as a deputy coroner for five years before succeeding Bob Wheeler in 2008. He cited his experience in doing the work of coroner as a main reason for re-electing him. 

Newton County Coroner:

Tommy Davis (R) (i), 25,253 votes, or 47%.

Dorothea Bailey-Butts (D), 27,995 votes, or 53%.

County Commissioner, District 1

Incumbent Republican Stan Edwards defeated Democratic challenger Catalata Hardeman for a second term in the seat representing southeastern, southern and part of southwestern Newton County on the board of commissioners. 

Edwards was first elected in 2016 after serving two years on the Newton County School Board.

District 1 County Commissioner (seven of seven precincts reporting): 

Stan Edwards (R) (i), 7,884 votes, or 71%.

Catalata Hardeman (D), 3,190 votes, or 39%.

County Commissioner, District 5 

Incumbent Republican Ronnie Cowan defeated Democratic challenger Dorothy Piedrahita for the seat representing northeastern and central Newton County on the board of commissioners.

Cowan was seeking a second term. He is an attorney who also has served as a police officer, human resources director and administrative services director with the city of Covington.

Piedrahita has worked in business and in several roles in government in two states, including with the city of Atlanta and the state of Alabama.

District 5 County Commissioner (11 of 11 precincts reporting):

Ronnie Cowan (R) (i), 6,710 votes, or 60%.

Dorothy Piedrahita (D), 4,479 votes, or 40%.Coroner

Unopposed Candidates  

Candidates on the Nov. 3 ballot who were unopposed included incumbent Clerk of Superior Court Linda D. Hays, who has served 37 years in the position; and County Chairman Marcello Banes and Probate Court Judge Melanie Bell, who were each elected to second terms.

Others included District 2 county school board member Eddie Johnson, who was unopposed for a fourth term; District 4 school board member Anderson Bailey, who recently was appointed to the board and was unopposed for his first full term; and Alana Sanders, who was unopposed for her first term in the county commission District 3 seat.