Latham ended up with 1,194 total votes to Alexander’s 1,050.
By 9:15 p.m., 15 of the 16 county precincts had finished reporting results. The final provisional votes will be counted next Tuesday, said Probate Judge Diane Branch.
Latham said he was excited and relieved by his victory.
“I feel good –- I feel really good now,” he said, his voice raised over music and the laughing and cheers of supporters. “I really appreciate the voters putting their confidence and trust in me.”
Latham and his family celebrated his success with 20 friends at a residence on Sky View Drive in Ashland.
Efforts to reach Alexander Tuesday night were unsuccessful.
Earlier Alexander said she kept up with the results as they came in Tuesday at a friend’s house near the sheriff’s office, also surrounded by family members and supporters.
Forty-five minutes after the polls closed, four precincts reported Latham edging out ahead early, with 222 votes to Alexander’s 107.
There are more than 10,000 registered voters in Clay County, but fewer than half of them showed up at the polls, Branch said.
Alexander voted with her oldest brother and 86-year-old mother at the Barfield precinct at 10:30 a.m. She said it has been a long-standing tradition for her family to cast their votes together.
Latham and his wife cast their votes at the Ashland National Guard Armory 30 minutes before the Alexander family voted.
While Alexander spent her day in the office, Latham said he passed the time by visiting supporters’ homes and staying on the road.
Both Alexander and Latham are Clay County natives. They started out on similar career paths –- first entering the law-enforcement world with entry-level jobs in the county sheriff’s office.
But while Alexander stayed local –- starting out as a dispatcher and working up through the ranks from corrections officer to patrol officer to investigator and eventually sheriff – Latham left after five years of service for the sheriff’s office and a stint as Ashland police chief to join the Department of Justice in Birmingham.
Latham’s victory over Alexander ends her eight-year-long career as Clay County’s first woman sheriff.
Latham will face independent candidate Wayne Watts and Republican nominee Mike Brown in November.
“I look forward to November,” Latham said. “I am very humbled to be selected to go forward.”