Former Gov. Roy Barnes endorses Craig Owens in race for Cobb County sheriff

Former Georgia Governor Roy BarnesFormer Georgia Governor Roy Barnes (photo provided by the Owens campaign)

Former Gov. Roy Barnes, who served as governor of Georgia from 1999 to 2003, has endorsed Craig Owens in the race for Cobb County Sheriff.

“I met Craig when he was the precinct commander in Mableton and I learned what a fine police officer he is,” said Barnes. “I stand by his character and management skills and I know what a fine sheriff he will be.”

Owens, a major in the Cobb County Police Department and the commander of Precinct 2, is running against Gregory Gilstrap and James Herndon for the Democratic nomination to face incumbent Republican Sheriff Neil Warren in the November general election.

Barnes was the most recent Democratic governor of Georgia. Since then, Republicans have held the top spot in Georgia government, but recent years have seen a narrowing in the margins by which Republicans won.

“As a longtime Cobb County resident,” Owens said. “I am humbled to have the support of one of our most prominent and engaged citizens in Roy Barnes.”

“As a Democrat, I am honored to have the endorsement of the last Democrat to serve as governor and one who has worked tirelessly to get Democrats elected across the state. Governor, I will make you and all of Cobb proud,” said Owens. 

Crowded Democratic races

This primary race has been particularly heated.

Rival candidate James Herndon challenging the eligibility of his Democratic opponents. As a result, Owens and Gilstrap were briefly disqualified until the disqualifications were overturned.

One reason for the increased competitiveness in Cobb Democratic primaries is that the trend in Cobb County has been moving steadily in the direction of Democrats for the past few electoral cycles.

Hillary Clinton won the majority of the vote in the county during the 2016 presidential election.

Then Republicans lost of leadership of the Cobb County state legislative delegation.

The GOP also suffered high-profile losses in U.S. Congressional District 6 and state Senate District 6, both of which contain portions of Cobb and Fulton counties.