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Hall County elects new sheriff, county attorney

Marty Klein and Rick Conrad celebrate their wins as Hall County Attorney and Sheriff (NTV News)

They campaigned together, and on election night they celebrated together, as Republican voters selected Rick Conrad to be sheriff and Marty Klein to be county attorney.

Conrad is a 25 year law enforcement veteran and had challenged Jerry Watson, the longest serving sheriff in Hall County history. Unofficial final results show Conrad with 2,445 votes -- 80 votes more than Watson's 2,365.

In the county attorney's race, two deputies in the office faced off against each other.

Marty Klein received 2,473 votes while David Medlin received 1,704.

The previous county attorney Jack Zitterkopf retired earlier this year. Klein praised the county board for not selecting either Medlin or himself, but instead appointing Sarah Carstesen as interim county attorney.

"I was really pleased the county board allowed voters to make the decision. They could have appointed one of us above the other, and given that person an incumbent advantage, but they didn't. They allowed voters to make that decision," Klein said as his campaign victory party.

Conrad said he's ready to get to work, after enjoying the win.

"Now at this point it's all about celebration, thanking everybody," he said. "I'm excited for everybody here. There's a lot of work to do, but I'm not afraid of work."

“Obviously I don’t take office right away. There’s still a term left. I plan on going back to work and still working, doing the same thing I’ve always done and obviously in the back of my mind there’s always going to be planning, what do I need to do and try to stay out ahead of it," said Conrad. “I know people, their biggest concern is raising taxes, spending money. That’s not my purpose and all the programs I want to do, there’s ways to get to that without having to add money to budgets and that’s my plan.”

He has said he would like to bring a K-9 unit to the department as well as a school resource officer.

Klein said he's looking at more subtle changes.

“Nothing’s going to change that much in January. There are a couple of things that I talked to law enforcement about, I talked to colleagues in the defense bar and that’s responsiveness. I think our office will work to be more responsive, answer phone calls, answer emails, be prepared for our trials and our jury trials in advance," he said. “I’d like to institute, if I can, three different positions of leadership within our office. That being division chiefs: criminal, civil and juvenile is kind of what I’m thinking, but I’m going to talk with the attorneys in our office and figure out what they want to do. But, I think there’s some value in having identified leadership in different areas of practice within our office.”

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