Election officials automatically called for a recount, which will be conducted Thursday. However, with only one provisional ballot outstanding, the recount was not expected to change the outcome.
Provided Thursday's recount maintains his victory, Moats, who ran on the Republican ballot, will face incumbent Sheriff J. Kelly McLendon (D) in November.
According to unofficial final numbers released Tuesday night, Moats won with 1,764 (50.06 percent) of the vote, to 1,760 votes (49.94 percent) for Sullivan.
Moats also led in the July 31 Republican primary balloting, which was a four-way race. Moats took 36.87 percent of the vote (2,007) to 34.25 percent (1,864) for Sullivan. Michael McGee finished third in the primary with 968 votes (17.7 percent) and Randy Stewart came in last with 604 votes (about 11 percent).
A runoff was required since neither Moats nor Sullivan had a plurality of the vote in the primary.
While not conceding Tuesday night, Sullivan congratulated Moats for his apparent victory.
In a short statement to local media outlets, Moats said, “I appreciate all the votes and the support. We’ve won one battle and we’ve got one more to go.”
In comparison to the four-way contest on the Republican ballot in the primary, McLendon was unopposed on the Democratic ballot.
Voters could only vote in Tuesday’s runoff elections if they had chosen to vote on the Republican ballot in the primary; or if they were registered voters who did not vote in the primary.
In addition to the sheriff’s race, there were two other Republican runoff elections: the contest for Polk County Commission Dist. 2, and for State Senate, Dist. 31.
County Commission District 2
In the county commission race, former Polk County Commission member Ray Barber, who last served in 2008, handily defeated incumbent Ricky Clark. Barber took 1,957 votes (55.6 percent) to Clark’s 1,563 (44.4 percent).
In the State Senate race, incumbent Sen. Bill Heath was returned to office. District 31 includes all of Haralson County and part of Paulding County, in addition to Polk County. The district vote totals were 6,400 votes (54.89 percent) for Heath, and 5,259 (45.11 percent) for Carruth.
Polk and Paulding voters widely favored Heath, but Carruth took the majority of the votes cast in his home county, Haralson.
County totals were:
Polk: Heath, 2,079 (58.88 percent); Carruth, 1,452 (41.12 percent).
Paulding: Heath, 3,133 (60.78 percent); Carruth, 2,022 (39.22 percent).
Haralson: Heath, 1,188 (38.51 percent); Carruth, 1,785 (61.49 percent).