Mike Ezell easily defeats Scott McIlrath in runoff election to become Jackson County's sheriff

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PASCAGOULA, Mississippi — Mike Ezell has defeated Scott McIlrath to win Tuesday's runoff election for Jackson County sheriff.

Complete, but unofficial, returns showed Ezell with 64 percent of the vote to 36 percent for McIlrath.

Ezell will serve the remaining year of former Sheriff Mike Byrd's term. The term ends in January 2016.

Ezell is a former Pascagoula Police Department captain and a former Ocean Springs police chief with 34 years of experience. He is currently the captain of the campus police department for the Singing River Health System.

McIlrath is currently chief investigator for District Attorney Tony Lawrence's office.

Byrd, a former four-term sheriff, pleaded guilty in March to federal and state charges. He completed his sentence of six months house arrest in September.

Charles Britt was later named interim sheriff. He qualified to run in the race but withdrew in September.

Election leaders still have to count 301 absentee votes, and they won't know how many affidavit ballots there are to count until sometime Wednesday.

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