Dawson County's runoff election for sheriff and tax commissioner ended in narrow victories Tuesday night.
Jeff Johnson edged past Tony Wooten to claim victory in the sheriff's race, while Nicole Stewart is celebrating a successful campaign against Andi Henson Juliette to be the county's next tax commissioner.
It's been more than 20 years since Dawson County had a new sheriff. Billy Carlisle, who is currently serving his fifth term, did not seek re-election.
Current Tax Commissioner Linda Townley also did not seek a fourth term.
Johnson, commander of the Dawson County Jail, received 1,890 votes (52.07 percent), to Wooten's 1,740 votes (47.93 percent).
With nearly 24 years of law enforcement experience, including the last seven as commander of the Dawson County Detention Center and stints in Hall County, Johnson awaited results with a crowd of supporters at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.
“It is a great honor to be elected as Dawson County's next sheriff. Words cannot express my deepest appreciation for the trust you have placed in me. It is truly a humbling experience,” he said. “I look forward to building strong community ties that will serve to increase our effectiveness and reduce crime. Together we will make a difference in the safety of our people and our community.”
Johnson and Wooten were the top two vote-getters in a four-man race May 24, over Jeff Perry and Frank Sosebee, to make it to the runoff.
An outright winner would have had to secure 50 percent plus one vote to avoid the runoff.
The same holds true for the tax commissioner's race, which initially fielded four candidates.
Stewart, a local banker who is heavily involved in the community, celebrated the win with family, friends and supporters at Dawsonville Tavern.
"I'm just so excited and proud. I want to thank all my supporters," she said. "I just can't wait until January to be Dawson County's next tax commissioner."
Johnson and Stewart will take their respective offices on Jan. 1, as no Democratic candidates sought the offices.