Incumbent Noel Brown will see four more years in office after a sweeping win Tuesday night in the race for the Bulloch County Sheriff’s seat.
Brown, a Republican reaching for his second term, was opposed by challenger Rey Rodriguez, a former Bulloch County sheriff’s deputy who ran on the Democratic ticket. He is currently employed with a neighboring county’s sheriff’s office as a deputy.
Bulloch voters handed Brown the majority of the votes at 66.6 percent; 19,655 votes to Rodriguez’s 33.4 percent, with 9,944 votes.
“Once again I thank Bulloch County for your vote,” Brown said in response to his win. “I am full of humility and I am without words. I give the glory to God.”
He said he looks forward to pursuing the growth of the sheriff’s office and jail, “even if it means a tax increase. I hope we and the (Bulloch County) Commissioners can agree that we need more staffing.”
During his campaign, Brown promoted growth of the sheriff’s office and jail in keeping up with the county’s population growth. In his first term in office after election in 2016, Brown initiated the current jail expansion project.
Rodriguez said he called Brown with congratulations when it became apparent Brown was the winner. However, he reminded the sheriff “there are still about 9,000 out there who don’t agree with what you are doing.” He said he urges Brown to “listen to the minority and unite the community.”
Each candidate ran his race with different ideas for the sheriff’s office. Brown depicted the role of sheriff to be more of a liaison between the people and the office, to give personal attention to people’s concerns and keep them safe. “A sheriff doesn’t have to micromanage his office,” he said during a forum held in October.
Rodriguez campaigned on improving partnerships with other agencies, reorganizing promotion policies and focus on retention; increasing pursuit of drug and gang crimes, and staying under budget by decreasing overtime, which has exceeded $1 million during Brown’s leadership.
Brown congratulated Rodriguez on a “good clean race in which he stayed with the issues.”
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at 912-489-9414.