JONESBORO, GA.- Interim Clayton County Sheriff Levon Allen received 47% of the vote during the Tuesday, March 21 special election for sheriff. His closest competitor Clarence Cox finished second with 29% of the vote, forcing a Tuesday, April 18 runoff election.

With a quarter of the vote counted Allen led Cox by more than 2,400 votes (5,605 to 3,183). With just over half the vote reported at 9 p.m. Allen’s advantage remained around 2,300 votes over Cox. Chris Storey was in third having garnered 16% of the vote for 2,129 total votes, according to an online Fox 5 election night counter.

Allen spent time in the Georgia National Guard and United States Army Reserves before joining the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office and later the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office in 2013.

Cox, currently Chief Investigator for the Fulton County Solicitor General’s Office, has nearly 40 years of law enforcement experience, including as a member Georgia Homeland Security Task Force.

The special election for sheriff of Clayton County, the sixth largest county in the state, saw a small portion of the county’s registered voters turnout. Interim Clayton County Sheriff Levon Allen was handpicked for the position by former sheriff Victor Hill last year. Hill is preparing to report to prison for a 18-month sentence after being indicted on federal charges last year.

Along with Allen, Cox, and Storey, Terry Evans, Dwayne Fabian were running for the position. Each had experience in sheriff’s offices, school police departments and for the Georgia State Patrol, respectively. Evans finished last with 3% of the vote. Fabian won 5% of the overall vote.

All with the exception of Allen have attended local town halls (pictured) in order to drum up support from voters. Allen made up for his in-person absences with multiple text messages to local voters. 

There is now potential for a debate between the two candidates for the runoff next month.

Low turnout

There are nearly 300,000 residents in Clayton County , with just over 206,000 registered to vote. As of Monday, March 20, 2023 there were just 9,521 votes cast, according to the county’s voting website. There have also been another 207 ballots accepted by mail. There were a total of just Over 15,000 total votes cast.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Donnell began his career covering sports and news in Atlanta nearly two decades ago. Since then he has written for Atlanta Business Chronicle, The Southern Cross...