NASHVILLE, GA (WALB) - Interim Sheriff Ray Paulk won a special election to finish the current term, but he's in a runoff to win a new term as Berrien County's Sheriff..
Polls are closed. And Ray Paulk's name will stay on the door of the Berrien County Sheriff's Office, for now. "It was a sense of relief, very much. We were excited about that," said Ray Paulk.
Paulk beat out two other candidates in a special election to stay in office through the end of the year, finishing former Sheriff Anthony Heath's term. Heath left office after pleading guilty to civil rights violations for beating two suspects.
But the race for Sheriff is far from over.
"A candidate must have 50 percent plus one of the votes to take the election," said Melanie Ray, Elections Supervisor.
In the general election vote, Paulk pulled in just under 49 percent of the vote in a four-man race. "Ray Paulk and Frank Swanson took the top two percentages. So they will both be in a runoff," said Ray.
Paulk and Swanson will face off in December to see who will serve a full term as Berrien County Sheriff. "In the end, I was banking on a runoff and that's what we were dealt with," said Swanson.
A race both candidates say will be tough. But they hope the turnout is just as high in December as it was November 8th. "It's an important election. But there's two good candidates in this race and I think people really need to come out and support us," said Paulk.
"Typically speaking, in a runoff you don't have that big of a turn out. I just hope everybody will make an educated decision when it comes to training, knowledge, and what each candidate has to bring to the table," said Swanson.