Warren won 172,157 votes (59%) over Democrat Gregory Gilstrap, who received 117,320 votes (41%).
This is the third time Gilstrap has challenged — and lost to — Warren.
Warren celebrated his win with friends and family at the American Legion Post 29 in Marietta.
Warren has been Cobb’s Sheriff since December 2003, when he was named interim sheriff after the retirement of longtime Sheriff Bill Hutson.
“I’m just as honored tonight as I was when Bill Hutson retired and I filled his spot last year. I’m just as honored tonight as I was then, and I still have the passion and the energy to serve the citizens of Cobb County,” Warren said.
Warren won election to full terms in 2004 and 2008. The Cobb Sheriff oversees a $67 million annual budget and nearly 800 employees.
“I’m just so blessed that I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many dedicated, fine men and women,” Warren said.
Warren and his wife, Penny, have two daughters. They attend Roswell Street Baptist Church.
In 2004, Warren won 66 percent of the vote to Gilstrap’s 34 percent. In 2008, a surge of Democrats brought to the polls by Barack Obama’s candidacy helped lift Gilstrap to 40 percent, still far short of Warren’s 60 percent.
Gilstrap, whose campaign website describes him as “the first African American to run and seek the office of Sheriff of Cobb County,” is an Atlanta native who lives in Austell.
Gilstrap, 50, is a grandfather of one who is married to Janie Gilstrap.
“Everyone has their season,” said Gilstrap, who watched the returns at the Doubletree Hotel off Windy Hill Road with the Cobb Democratic Party. “If you run for office or any type of sports, you have your season.”
Jerry Gonzalez, executive director of Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, and Rich Pellegrino of the Cobb Immigrant Alliance, have been vocal in their criticism of Warren, particularly his using the 287(g) program, in which deputies at the jail have the training and authority to investigate an inmate’s immigration status and turn over to federal authorities anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. Warren said he’s turned over about 10,000 inmates to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the 287(g) program since 2007.
Realtor Ed Hammock of Marietta said Warren’s use of the program is one of the reasons he admires the Sheriff.
“I particularly like the idea of him wanting to make sure we obey the law relative the immigration problem,” Hammock said. He dismissed Warren’s critics, saying, “You know, a thief always thinks he gets the bad end of the deal.”
Another Warren fan celebrating his win at the American Legion was Alice Summerour of Marietta, a member of the city’s Board of Lights and Water.
“I think he’s done an outstanding job, and he’s not afraid to take on immigration issues,” Summerour said. “He’s done a good job with the jail, the construction, and I think everybody with the department has a great reputation.”
Warren received high praise from Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin.
“He does a great job for our county,” Tumlin said. “He works well with the city. He’s a man of integrity. He runs a tight ship. He has a great staff, and we’re very lucky to have him.”
Warren’s campaign had $25,000 on hand as of Oct. 25, according to finance reports filed with the state ethics commission. Gilstrap’s report showed $37.35 on hand as of Oct. 25.