Incumbents sail to victory; Johnson returning to Congress; runoff for sheriff

5/21/2014, 1:26 a.m.
Congressman Hank Johnson is going back to Washington for a fifth term of office, and Sheriff Jeff Mann will face ...
Re-elected Congressman Hank Johnson (left) elicits a rousing celebration with his announcement that "We won!" at his victory party at Jolie Event Center in Decatur. Photo by Curtis Parker

Congressman Hank Johnson is going back to Washington for a fifth term, and incumbent Sheriff Jeff Mann, and three appointed school board members will face challengers in the July 22 runoffs.

During the May 20 primary, non-partisan and special elections, voters were kind to incumbents returning most of them to office with large percentages.

In a hard-fought race for the 4th Congressional District, Johnson lead former DeKalb Sheriff Thomas Brown with 54.8 percent of the votes to Brown’s 45.2 percent. Mann had 39.4 percent of vote to Jones’ 22.3 percent.

As expected, voter turnout was low across the county and the state. In DeKalb only 78,531 or 20.1 percent of the county’s 389.998 registered voters cast ballots in the elections. Included among those voters, were 16,041 people who voted early and by absentee ballots.

Statewide, only 984,382 or 19.5 percent of Georgia’s 5,040,952 voters cast ballots. Among those were 239,281 people who voted early in person or cast absentee ballots by mail.

Johnson, who was first elected to the Fourth Congressional District in 2006, said the district has confidence that he will continue to represent them and join President Barack Obama and his colleagues to make sure that America lives up to its creed of freedom, prosperity and dignity for all.

“It means that by a wide margin the citizens of the Fourth District decided to send me back to Washington to continue the work that needs to be completed,” he said late Tuesday night after claiming victory before a large crowd that included Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, state Sen. Ron Ramsey, DeKalb Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton and radio personality Sasha the Diva.

Johnson said he was going to grab a couple hours of sleep and head back to D.C. on Wednesday.

“I don’t want to miss any more votes,” he said. “I got work to do. I am on the clock.”

Brown, who retired from the Sheriff’s Office to challenge Johnson, said he was proud of the race he ran.

“At the end of the day, I didn’t give the people a good enough reason to make a change,” he said.

Brown said he is going to rest, travel and enjoy his new grandson.

He said he wasn’t sure if he was done with politics:

“I never say never,” he said. “I’m leaving for now, but I’ll be watching.”

Jeff Mann

Jeff Mann

Vernon Jones

Vernon Jones

Mann, the incumbent sheriff, will face Vernon Jones in a runoff election on July 22. He got 39.9 percent of the vote to Jones 22.2 percent.

Brown appointed Mann, who worked alongside him in the Sheriff’s Office for 14 years as his chief assistant and chief deputy, to succeeded him in February. But because Brown had more than two years left on his term, a special election was called to replace Brown.

Jones, a former two-term DeKalb County CEO, was one of seven candidates who challenged Mann for the seat.

Three school board races in runoff

In the school board races, only one of Gov. Nathan Deal’s appointees, Dr. Joyce Morely won outright on Tuesday. The three other appointed board members on the ballot – Drs. Michael Erwin and Karen Carter, and Thad Mayfield – ended up in the runoffs.