The race to replace the longtime sheriff of Monroe County is headed to a runoff.
Lawson Cary Bittick lll and Brad Freeman were the top two vote getters in a 6-way race to replace John Cary Bittick. The former sheriff stepped down after 35 years in office to accept President Donald Trump’s nomination to serve as U.S. marshal for the Middle District of Georgia.
Lawson Bittick, the former sheriff’s son and a lieutenant in the sheriff’s office, was the top vote getter with 3,937 votes, or 31 percent. Freeman, a captain in the sheriff’s office, was second with 2,974 votes, or 24 percent.
With no one getting a majority of the vote, they will face each other in a runoff on Dec. 4. Both said with six candidates in the race they were expecting a runoff and were just happy to get in.
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“I feel good,” Bittick said. “I’m ready to take it to Dec. 4. I’m hoping I can gain the confidence of the people who decided to go with other candidates.”
Freeman also said he was pleased with the result.
“I think all the hard work paid off,” he said. “I’m very humbled.”
Chief Deputy All Shackleford stepped in to serve as interim sheriff after John Cary Bittick’s resignation.
Ronnie “Jocko” Evans was third with 1,904 votes (15 percent); Stacey Penamon was fourth with 1,796 votes (14 percent); Mike Bittick was fifth 1,567 (13 percent); and Troy Copelan 343 votes (3 percent).