"We ran a good campaign and we're glad for the results," Dalton said during a party of approximately 200 people in Jerry Tribby's shop on Spring Place Road.
Dalton's margin was less than half the number of people at his victory party as estimated by campaign supporter Angie Binkley.
The margin between Dalton and King was about one percent.
Election results available before the Belfast box came in showed Chapel Hill Police Chief Jackie King was about to win over the long-time sheriff's officer. Dalton resigned to run his campaign. When he left he was captain of the detectives. He'll return as sheriff on Sept. 1.
King was realistic in defeat.
"I still got a job," the police chief said. "It ain't no hard rolling for me. I had a good time" during the campaign.
King and his supporters were gathered at one of the cabins at Henry Horton State Park.
Polls closed at 7 p.m. The first results were announced at about 8:10 p.m.
At 9:56 p.m. in Tribby's shop, Dalton said, "I want to take this tie off."
His campaign trademark was a yellow necktie with words printed on it like a police line that's not to be crossed.
Dalton put the tie around the neck of his 10-year-old grandson, Jacob Newcomb of Lewisburg, the son of Amanda Newcomb, a night shift officer for the Lewisburg Police Department where she had also served as a dispatcher.
"I got it to wear to my mom's police academy graduation," Jacob Newcomb said. "I asked him (Dalton) to wear it during the campaign."
Dalton's campaign included a life-sized photo cut out of him wearing the tie and waving to anybody driving by. The cutout was at the end of the driveway to mark where his victory party was held.
Asked about what won the campaign for her father, Officer Newcomb replied with a hand gesture to the crowd of supporters: "They did it."
Millie Miller, proprietor of the Celebration Inn, said she and others in the campaign were confident all along and never lost faith that Dalton would be the next sheriff.
Wesley Poteete was among the supporters Thursday night.
"We were raised up together all our lives," Poteete said of a livelong friend. "I don't know a time when I didn't know him. "I love my boy. He's just like family."
Rick Dodson agreed, claiming, "We got him fixed up with his signs and all."
The long-time lawman will succeed Sheriff Les Helton shortly after midnight Sept. 1 since Helton closes his fifth term as sheriff at midnight Aug. 31.
Placing third in the sheriff's race was Roger Fagan, a former chief deputy who lost to Helton by 73 votes (3,493 to 3,420) four years ago.
Retired Lewisburg Police Capt. David Ray placed fourth and former Lewisburg Police Officer Woody Woodward placed fifth
Their race included an offer to appear on stage at the Marshall County Community Theatre for a debate sponsored by the Marshall County Tribune, but according to several sources, all or most of the men spoke together at a political event and agreed to not participate.
Their reason: They were all friends who agreed to conduct a civil campaign and they were reluctant to be on the same stage together where they might get into an argument, according to King.
All touted their long careers in law enforcement and campaigned with political advertisements and appearances at public events, some including ball games that they sponsored for the authority to speak to the audience, introduce themselves and ask for votes.