Election to decide Clayton’s future looms

JONESBORO — Clayton County voters will decide in a few days if they want to stick with the sheriff they’ve got or go back to a former sheriff who has been indicted by a grand jury on 37 felony counts.

They will also decide if longtime Clayton County Board of Commissioners Chairman Eldrin Bell should stay in office for four more years, or if it’s time for fresher blood in the form of former county police Chief Jeff Turner.

Voters in the panhandle will decide if they want to continue being represented by commission Vice-Chairman Wole Ralph, who is awaiting trial in Atlanta on DUI charges, or if they want to turn to political newcomer Shana Rooks.

A state senate race featuring two well-known people in the county and a race to decide who will represent a new state representative district will also be decided.

It is time for the final showdown in this year’s local elections. It is time for the primary run-off election.

Fifty-eight polling precincts will open Tuesday at 7 a.m. and remain open until 7 p.m.

The offices appearing on run-off ballots are: Bell against Turner for commission chairman; Ralph versus Rooks for District 3 commissioner; Sheriff Kem Kimbrough versus former Sheriff Victor Hill for sheriff; State Sen. Gail Davenport versus former State Sen. Gail Buckner for District 44 state senator and teacher T.J. Copeland versus attorney Ronald Mabra for District 63 state representative.

Hill is awaiting trial for a litany of felony charges largely stemming from his previous stint as sheriff. If Hill is elected and then convicted, the governor would have to appoint an interim sheriff to replace him. A special election will have to be held later to find a permanent replacement.

Election officials said 1,992 of the county’s 150,788 registered voters cast ballots by Thursday night during advance voting for the run-off.