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    Richmond County sheriff defeated in runoff after 11 years in office

    By Joe Hotchkiss, Augusta Chronicle,


    Richmond County voters will have a new sheriff in 2025.

    Eugene “Gino Rock” Brantley, a Richmond County Marshal's Office sergeant with 16 years of experience in the sheriff's office, stunned 11-year incumbent Sheriff Richard Roundtree on Tuesday in a neck-and-neck runoff election for the leading law enforcement post.

    With all 68 voting precincts reporting, Brantley, running on a campaign stressing "accessibility, approachability, and active engagement," won 10,087 votes for 52.77%. Roundtree, who became sheriff in 2013 after the retirement of Ronnie Strength, won 9,027 votes for 47.23%.

    With no emergent Republican challenger for the office, Brantley stands as the de facto sheriff-elect.

    In the race for superior court judge in the Augusta Judicial Circuit, local attorney Charles H.S. Lyons III doubled up on challenger Matt Matson to win the seat on the bench to replace retiring Judge Danny Craig.

    Lyons, who declared his candidacy for the post in February 2022, won 14,526 votes for 65.1%. Matson, an Augusta attorney who clerked for Superior Court Judges J. Carlisle Overstreet and Carl C. Brown Jr., won 7,786 votes for 34.9%. Richmond County Juvenile Court Judge Willie Saunders was voted out of contention for that race during the May primary election and nonpartisan general election.

    Lyons won the majority in both counties – 13,792 to Matson's 7,267 in Richmond, and 734 to Matson's 519 in Burke County. The two counties comprise the Augusta Judicial Circuit.

    In the Columbia County runoff to select a Republican nominee for the Georgia House District 131 seat, Rob Clifton defeated Paul Abbott by an almost-3-to-1 margin. They ran to replace Republican Rep. Jodi Lott, who did not seek re-election.

    Clifton, the CEO of his own construction company, took 1,561 votes for 73.29%. Abbott – an educator and administrator, and a 22-year Army and Georgia Army National Guard veteran – took 569 for 26.71% of the vote. All 16 precincts reported.

    Because District 131 covers only part of Columbia County, voters in just 16 county precincts in Evans and Grovetown cast ballots in the race.

    Clifton now will face the Democratic challenger, retired Army officer and married mother of four Heather White, in the November general election.

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