RINGGOLD, Ga. -- Longtime drug enforcer and former Fort Oglethorpe Police Chief Larry Black won the most votes in the Catoosa County sheriff's race.
But Black, the former Lookout Mountain Drug Task Force commander, still must square off with Catoosa County Chief Deputy Gary Sisk in a runoff because neither received more than 50 percent of the votes. The runoff, which will decide the sheriff's race because there are no Democratic candidates, will be held Aug. 21.
"We're very happy with the results," Black said Tuesday night. "[But] we've still got another election to go through."
Five candidates ran for sheriff, attempting to fill the top law enforcement spot that will be empty when longtime Sheriff Phil Summers retires at the end of the year.
Catoosa County Manager Mike Helton came in third, but close behind him was Fort Oglethorpe police Officer Jeff Holcomb. Retired Drug Enforcement Administration agent Ben Scott came in last.
Helton, who has 16 years of police experience, said he knew it was going to be an uphill battle, but he thought he had unique credentials with county manager experience. But he realized it might have been an issue to some people that he wasn't currently in law enforcement.
"I'll be anxious to see how the sheriff's race ends up," he said. "Whoever gets the position I'll be working with."
Black's supporters said they voted for him because of his tough stance on drug enforcement and his long time commitment in the community.
"He's good to everybody; he's very fair," said supporter Ronny Land.
Roger and Linda Farley said they appreciate how Black cares about teenagers and wants to focus on fighting drugs from inside the schools.
Sisk supporters said he has gathered a lot of experience during his more than 20 years in the Catoosa sheriff's office and has been dependable over the years.
"The way things are, I want somebody who you know who they are," said Stephanie Harvey, a Sisk supporter and Ringgold resident.
All vote totals, which include federally mandated provisional ballots, are unofficial until certified by the Georgia secretary of state.
Contact staff writer Joy Lukachick at email@example.com or 423-757-6659.
Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...