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Graybeal squeaks by in fight for sheriff’s badge

In what could end up being the closest race of the Washington County Republican Primary, incumbent Sheriff Ed Graybeal edged out the win over challenger Craig Ford.
The unofficial results show Graybeal earned 50.04 percent of the votes while Ford received 49.93 percent, what comes down to a literal 13-vote difference.
It was a nail-biting competition up to the very end, but Graybeal said the atmosphere was positive among family and friends who gathered to watch the results come in from the county’s 40 voting precincts. “Everybody wanted to have it at our house, and we all just stuck together,” he said.
Ford, who serves as operations manager for the Town of Jonesborough, led a campaign that criticized Graybeal’s leadership and promised change if he were elected.
“We knew it was going to be close, and voter turnout was light in some parts of Johnson City,” Graybeal said. “I’m glad it turned out like it did.”
Graybeal said he had a lot of good people working on his team, and he appreciates them and the support of the voters.
Ford released a statement the day after the May 6 primary notifying the media he is exploring the process of a recount.
The Washington County Election Commission must certify the results of the primary before Ford could contest the election.
Graybeal said he has faith in the Election Commission that the numbers are accurate.
During his fourth term as sheriff, Graybeal said he wants the WCSO to continue growing and being more involved in the community. “We were reaccredited last year, and I want us to keep being professional and serving the citizens of Washington County,” he said.