Clayton County will have a new sheriff next year.
Former sheriff Victor Hill defeated incumbent Kem Kimbrough 54 to 46 percent with nearly all precincts reported. Kimbrough unseated Hill from the position four years ago.
Hill came out on top despite a 37 count indictment against him, including racketeering charges, from his previous time in office.
Kimbrough had led in the vote count much of the night.
"It's a little bit nerve-racking to see people want to put the fate of the county back in the hands of somebody's who's already shown us what he's capable of," said Kimbrough who spoke to reporters before the final numbers were tallied.
Hill, who would not speak to the media during election night, released a statement following his victory:
"Tonight, I am humbled by God and the support of the Clayton County voters and accept their will to serve once again, as Sheriff of Clayton County. I want to thank the many volunteers, advisors and friends that worked tirelessly over the last few months to make tonight’s victory a reality. As promised, I want to advise those who prey on others by breaking into homes, robbing businesses and drug trafficking to stop or leave Clayton while you still can. Your presence is not wanted and your lawlessness will not be tolerated. I want to thank everyone once again. May God bless you all and may God bless Clayton County.”
Even though Hill has won the election, he may not be able to take office if the criminal case is not resolved.
Hill is facing 37 counts related to his previous term in office. He is charged with racketeering, theft by taking, making false statements, influencing a witness and violating his oath of office. There is no trial date set.
His law enforcement certification is under emergency suspension because of that indictment.
State law requires an elected sheriff to be certified within six months of taking office. Hill is supposed to take office in January.
If Hill has not gone to trial by January the governor could suspend him and appoint a temporary sheriff.
If Hill is convicted he would be disqualified to be sheriff and a special election would be held.