Incumbents in races for Fulton County sheriff and district attorney appear headed to runoff elections with challengers on Aug. 11. Meanwhile, incumbent Fulton Board of Education member Gail Dean fended off a challenger to retain her seat.

The results continued to trickle in from the chaotic June 9 primary and special election, where pandemic precautions and new voting machines led to massive lines and still-to-be-counted absentee ballots. The outcome of many races was still unclear at 5:30 p.m. on June 10.

No Republican ran for the sheriff’s office or the district attorney’s seat in the primary, which means the winners in the anticipated Democratic runoff should be the next Fulton County sheriff and district attorney.

District attorney

Incumbent Fulton District Attorney Paul Howard was trailing his former employee Fani Willis in his bid for reelection, but the race appeared headed to a runoff with roughly 96% of precincts reporting.

The district attorney’s race included three candidates, as Howard faced off against two of his former assistant district attorneys, Willis and Christian Wise Smith. Willis led with 60,171 votes, or 41.69% of the total. Howard trailed with 51,270 votes or 35.52%. Smith trailed with 32,883 votes or 22.78% of the total.


Fulton Sheriff Ted Jackson held a commanding lead over his four opponents as he also sought to stay in office. Despite leading his closest opponent by more than 15,000 votes, he was far short of the 50% plus one vote necessary to avoid a runoff.

The Fulton Sheriff’s race gets a bit murkier. No candidate got fewer than 8,000 votes. Jackson, the incumbent, received 62,569 votes in unofficial totals with 95.9% of precincts reporting. That was 44.59% of the vote, far short of what’s necessary to avoid a runoff.

Patrick “Pat” Labat had the next highest vote total with 31,646, or 22.55% of the votes cast, positioning him for a runoff against Jackson.

Among other candidates, Myron Freeman had 17.94% of the votes; Walter Calloway had 9%; and Charles Rambo had 5.92%.

School board

Fulton school board member Gail Dean won the race to retain her District 3 seat, which includes part of Sandy Springs. Dean had 9,289 votes, or 68.37%, to Jimmy Glenn’s 4,297, or 31.63%.

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.