COVINGTON - The race for the Newton County sheriff was won by Democratic candidate Lt. Ezell Brown, but it was a close call.
According to unofficial results from the Newton County Board of Elections, Brown won out over Republican candidate Lt. Bill Watterson by 62 votes, or approximately .15 percent, in Tuesday's General Election. Results show Brown with 20,017 votes, or 50.01 percent, and Watterson with 19,955 votes, or 49.86 percent.
"I'm claiming it," Brown said. "I think it was a fair race; it was a horse race all the way."
He said he anticipates implementing his ideas and concepts - his campaign focused on "The Big Three: drugs, sex and violence."
"I'm looking forward to making the transition from an everyday individual ... to managing and overseeing everyone," Brown said.
He plans to take a couple of days off and attend sheriff school, starting this weekend, through the Georgia Sheriffs' Association.
Watterson was unavailable for comment as of press time Tuesday.
In the race for the District 2 seat on the Newton County Board of Education, political newcomer Eddie Johnson, the Democratic candidate, appears to be the one who will replace incumbent Republican candidate Rickie Corley, who has served on the school board for nearly 12 years.
Johnson took 4,303 votes, or 52.58 percent, while Corley received 3,875 votes, or 47.35 percent.
Neither candidate was available for comment as of press time, but Johnson, a bus driver for the Newton County School System, previously criticized the entire current Board of Education for lack of leadership and concern for students and their low test scores.
Even though many contested races in Newton County went to Democratic candidates on Election Day, incumbent Republican Newton County Tax Commissioner Barbara Dingler appears to be the victor in the race for tax commissioner.
According to unofficial results from the Newton County Board of Elections, Dingler beat out Democratic competitor Nicholas Day. Dingler received 22,133 votes, or about 55 percent, while Day took 17,451 votes, or less than 45 percent.
"I'm happy," Dingler said. "I want to thank the citizens of Newton County."
Dingler, who was appointed tax commissioner in 1999, wants to place a satellite office in the western part of the county and provide "the best" customer service to residents, she said in her platform.
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