Both challengers’ combined vote totals in the primary election didn’t amount to half the votes Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini received on Tuesday night.
Pierini received 6,335 votes, or 69.36 percent of the votes cast during the primary. His closest challenger, David Brady, received 1,888 votes while Michael Gyll came in third with 911 votes.
Despite the size of Pierini’s majority, he will face Brady in the general election in November.
“It’s outstanding and humbling that we were able to get close to that 70 percent number,” he said. “The four previous times I’ve run, I’ve never had competition. It’s quite an experience to get a good feeling from the community about what they like in the department. People are satisfied with how we run the department. There are no scandals, no problems. People are very pleased with the service they receive and appreciate the hard work put in by our professionals. I think that came out in the results.”
Both Brady and Gyll cited Pierini’s campaign war chest in his victory. As of June 6, Pierini had raised $41,094 for his campaign.
Pierini agreed running for sheriff is an expensive event.
“A lot of (the contributions) had to do with what people believed in with this agency,” he said. “If you look at the other two people, we doubled what they got. That support shows people do not want a change. They want us to continue making sure we keep the crime rate low, and do everything we can to keep being the best sheriff’s office.”
Brady said he’s not changing his message for the general election.
“The sheriff received $20,000 from four donors,” Brady said. “We’re not going to be able to compete on the dollars raised. We’re going to have to do a better job of getting our message out to voters.”
Brady said the Sheriff’s Office needs to adapt to a changing world.
“We’ll continue with our message because it still holds true, the good old boy establishment prevails right now and that needs to change. Our action plan remains appropriate to the time and we need to convey that whenever we can.”
Gyll, who was eliminated from the race by Tuesday’s vote, thanked his supporters and decried the lack of turnout.
“I’m concerned that people aren’t out there voting like they should be,” he said. “It’s horrible when most of the good elections are lost in the primary.”
He said he felt the amount of money raised in the campaign was more than should be required for Douglas County.
“I didn’t have the resort groups giving me $10,000,” he said. “That’s more than I raised for my whole campaign. It’s too bad it takes money to win something like that, especially in a small county like ours.”
Gyll wished both Pierini and Brady luck in the general election.
“I hope the community gets what they’re looking for out of the sheriff of Douglas County,” he said.
Only 14 percent of the electorate turned out to vote on election day, fewer than the 14.65 percent who voted early. Total turnout was 32.83 percent. Douglas County Republicans had the highest turnout with 44.18 percent of active voters casting a ballot. Just under a quarter of Democrats and less than 15 percent of nonpartisan voters turned out, despite having the nonpartisan race for sheriff on the ballot.