Four lawmen in top runoff spots in Clayton County

6:13 PM, Aug 1, 2012   |    comments
Embattled former Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill was being held in a Gwinnett County Jail after being indicted on 37 charges of corruption, racketeering, theft and making false statements by a grand jury. (Photo provided by Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office)
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JONESBORO, GA -- Kem Kimbrough admits he's having trouble understanding Tuesday's primary.

The Clayton County sheriff finds himself in a runoff with former Clayton County sheriff Victor Hill, who faces a 37 count criminal indictment. Hill managed to get 38 percent of the vote in a three way race Tuesday. Kimbrough got 42 percent.

"I don't know what accounts for" Hill's support, Kimbrough said. "It is kind of surprising to me that people would choose to ignore that he's under a felony indictment."

Hill had vowed to fight the criminal charges and regain the sheriff's job following his January indictment. He declined repeated requests for comment Wednesday.

RELATED:  In Jail, Hill says he's getting "rest" for his campaign

Clayton County voters delivered another surprise Tuesday, when they forced county commission chairman Eldrin Bell into a runoff. His opponent will be Jeff Turner -- the former Clayton County police chief, forced out of office by the county commission. He is now a runoff victory away from leading that commission.

"I can understand somebody thinking that" his motivation might be personal, Turner said. "Again that was two and a half years ago and I haven't made any big fuss about it since-- although, yes I do feel like I was done wrong. But you have to let that go."

Bell, the septuagenarian former Atlanta police chief, says he will offer stability as he seeks a third term. "It's time for this county to become stable and not a training ground every four years." Bell said.

Conventional wisdom may suggest that Tuesday's results may spell trouble for the incumbents, Kimbrough and Bell, because their challengers got so many more votes than they did. But Clayton County is known for unconventional politics.

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