Bell wins Georgia House seat; Clayton sheriff set for runoff
Eric W. Bell II won a special election to fill a vacancy in the Georgia House of Representatives, while Levon Allen and Clarence Cox will go to a runoff for the sheriff’s post in Clayton County, according to final unofficial election results Tuesday.
Allen, a former Clayton County deputy, was chosen as interim sheriff in the southern Atlanta suburb with the endorsement of former Sheriff Victor Hill. The ex-sheriff was removed from office after federal jurors convicted Hill of violating the civil rights of people in his custody by unnecessarily strapping them into restraint chairs. Hill was sentenced last week to serve a year and a half in prison.
Cox is a former deputy in Clayton County who later served as chief of police for Clayton County schools and now is chief investigator for Fulton County’s solicitor general.
Allen won about 47% of the vote, while Cox won 29%. Three other candidates trailed.
The Clayton sheriff oversees the jail, although Allen has continued Hill’s practice of seeking publicity for his efforts to arrest fugitives and undertake other anti-crime operations outside the jail. Clayton County has a separate police department with a chief appointed by the county commission.
In the legislative race, Bell, a Democratic activist and former Navy officer won more than 60% of the vote in a three-candidate field. Now governmental affairs coordinator at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Bell beat fellow Democrat Herman “Drew” Andrews and Republican Della Ashley.
The House District 75 seat, covering central and southern parts of Clayton County including parts of Jonesboro, became vacant earlier this year after Democratic Rep. Mike Glanton stepped down for health reasons.
One House district remains vacant after first-term Democrat Letitia “Tish” Naghise died earlier this month after an illness. Gov. Brian Kemp set a May 16 election to fill the vacancy in House District 68, which includes Atlanta suburbs in southern Fulton and northern Fayette counties.