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Posted: November 17, 2012 12:46 a.m.

Sheriff-elect narrows list of chief deputy candidates

Sheriff’s race recount finds one vote difference

Darrell Everidge/

Eric Levett

Tuesday’s recount in the sheriff’s race confirmed Eric Levett’s win and concluded with a difference of only one vote from Friday night’s results — 18,759 votes for challenger Eric Levett, or 50 percent, and 18,727 votes for incumbent Jeff Wigington, or 49.91 percent. 

The totals reported on Friday after provisional and absentee ballots were counted were 18,760 for Levett and 18,726 for Wigington.

Levett is the first African American elected to the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office.

“This is one of the closer election results in recent electoral history in the state, which is why Sheriff Wigington had decided it was necessary to exercise his right to request a recount of the Nov. 6 election results,” said Paul Vranicar, Wigington’s attorney, following announcement of the recount results Tuesday. “At this time the sheriff has not made any specific decision regarding whether a further challenge of the electoral results will be necessary. There is a lot of information we need to sift through, a few leads we need to follow up on and data we essentially need to analyze before that determination can be made. Under the law, the sheriff would have five days to make that determination before filing a suit in Rockdale County Superior Court.” 

The deadline to make that decision would be Monday. 

After the recount, Levett, who began Sheriff-elect academy on Monday, said, “I never lost my faith and never lost my belief. I knew that I would declare victory.”

He thanked all the voters who came out. “This is truly a historic moment… Now it’s time to work. It doesn’t stop there. I just ask that we all work together and we can all unite as one.”

“We’re looking at putting together a transitional team to look over the operation of the entire sheriff’s office,” he said. He said he has narrowed down his candidates for Chief Deputy but declined to comment on it. “I’m looking at announcing it later.”

He previously said he would look outside the RCSO for his Chief Deputy but might look at candidates from local agencies.

On Friday, Nov. 9, before the count of provisional and absentee ballots that put Levett ahead by 30-plus votes, Levett attended the funeral of his grandmother and Levett family matriarch Barbara Jean Bailey Levett. 

“That was a bittersweet moment for me,” said Eric Levett. “She died believing and knowing that I would win.”

 

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