Ralston, an incumbent, defeated challenger Jim Banks 5,258 (72.74 percent) to 1,970 on Tuesday in the Georgia Primary and Non Partisan General Election to win a second term.
Ralston faces no Democratic challengers in November so the primary secured his reelection.
“I first want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” Ralston said following the win. “I want to thank my family, thank everyone that donated time and labor and thank those who voted for me.”
Ralston carried a steady lead over Banks throughout the night. Early voting results showed him leading 1,429 to 573 by 8 p.m., an hour after polls closed.
By 8:30, Ralston’s lead had swelled by 1,571 votes, giving him a 3,000 to 1,047 advantage. By 9 p.m., Ralston led the race 3,602 to 1,322.
“I ran a clean campaign and I’m going to make sure we continue to keep Gordon County safe,” he said.
Ralston was first elected sheriff in 2008, replacing incumbent Jerry Davis, who did not seek reelection.
He defeated challenger Matt Massingill in the 2008 Republican primary, 3,697 to 1,921. Ralston carried 65.81 percent of the votes to Massingill’s 34.19.
The following November Ralston, a former state trooper, defeated Democrat Rodney Grant 13,147 to 3,885 to win the sheriff’s election.
Though it was Ralston’s second election, he said it was still stressful.
“You never know how it will turn out and until it’s over,” Ralston said. “I am so thankful they got out and voted. I’m humbled and very appreciative. I will not let them down.”
In the weeks leading up to this year’s primary, Banks accused Ralston of wasteful spending, categorizing the recent purchase of patrol cars as unnecessary.
Banks also said that Ralston failed to foster communication between the Calhoun Police Department and the sheriff’s office during his first four years in office.
Last September Ralston reported that the sheriff’s office was under budget for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.
Reports from the Gordon County Finance Department in 2011 reported that the sheriff’s office had a budget of $5,165, 922 and returned $651,828 to the county’s general fund.
The previous year, the office returned $953,482 and in Ralston’s first year as sheriff, $1528,614 was returned.