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Sheriff's runoff candidates say they're ready
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The top two vote getters vying for Liberty County’s top cop position in Tuesday’s special election are headed into a runoff Nov. 30. Since neither of the leading candidates received the “50 percent plus 1 majority” of the vote as required by Georgia election law, a runoff was scheduled by the state.
“The runoff is still tied to yesterday’s (special) election,” Liberty County Supervisor of Elections Ella Golden said Wednesday. She explained the runoff, like the special election, is a nonpartisan race because the election was called to fill the late Don Martin’s unexpired term.
Steve Sikes led the pack of seven candidates, receiving 39.44 percent of the county-wide vote and Warren Waye garnered 30.95 percent of the total vote. Bobby Ryon helped split the vote by coming in third Tuesday, with 11.85 percent of the vote.
Golden stressed these election results are considered unofficial and incomplete until all the votes have been counted and the election has been certified by the Liberty County Board of Elections and the Georgia Secretary of State. Local absentee and advance ballots were counted Tuesday night, she said, but the vote won’t be “closed out” until today “in case there are absentee ballots coming in (from service members).”
Sikes and Waye say they will continue running “clean” campaigns, free of mudslinging over the next four weeks before the runoff is held at the end of the month.
“I’m very honored that my friends and neighbors showed me that sort of support,” Sikes said Thursday. “I’ve hit the ground running. I’m trying to encourage each and every (voter) to go back to the polls on Nov. 30.”
Sikes said he is open to receiving new voters to his camp as well as retaining the folks who have supported him since he qualified to run last summer. He intends to spend some time visiting residents in the precincts that didn’t give him a majority of the vote.
“I will be a sheriff with an open door,” Sikes said.
If elected, Sikes said he plans to implement programs here that have worked well in other Georgia counties. During a political forum held in late September, Sikes pointed to a sexual predator monitoring program that has had success in Glynn County. He said then he would like to duplicate such a program in Liberty County.
Waye said he had hoped to win the election “outright,” but knew that would have been “all but impossible” with seven candidates in the race.
“We will be out pounding on doors and shaking hands,” he said. “We’ll continue doing what we’ve been doing; running a clean race.” Waye plans to reach as many voters as he can over the next several weeks, including those who may not have voted on Tuesday.
If elected, Waye said he would ensure deputies share their sheriff’s vision for the future.
“They must see exactly what the citizens want,” he said. “What our citizens want is to be treated with respect. They want to see officers consistently (patrolling) in their areas.”
Waye added he would put a resource officer back in the public schools.

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