Leslie E. “Smitty” Smith came out a winner on the democratic ticket for Harlan County Sheriff against incumbent Marvin Lipfird. The Primary Election for the sheriff’s race was a big drawing card as voters headed to the polls on Tuesday.
The election generated notable interest with two Republican and six democratic contenders for the sheriff’s race.
Winning on the democratic ticket Leslie E. “Smitty” Smith had 3,059 votes, and Republican victor Jayson Howard had 982 votes. They will face each other in the November General Election.
“I’m humbled with this win,” said Smith. “Humbled by the opportunity and the honor to represent folks on the democratic ticket. I’m going to take a little break before beginning work on the fall. I’m going to take a few days off to spend with my family and I may go fishing. I appreciate all the folks who voted and pushed forward to help me. When I say that it was a lot of folks that talked to friends and family, that’s the difference between winning and losing. Every vote matters.”
Lipfird said he appreciated everyone who supported him in this election and for the past eight years. He said he felt he has “done a lot of good” but “every ship eventually runs its course.”
“I wish the winner between Leslie and Jayson the best of luck this fall,” said Lipfird. “Whomever is the winner as soon as they are ready, if it be the day after the election or in January, I made a promise to them and the county that they will have a smooth transition into this office.”
Winning the Republican ticket for sheriff, Jayson Howard said, “My winning is owed primarily to the Lord Jesus Christ. Without him I wouldn’t be here. I appreciate everyone who voted and supported me. I hope we can make it through November. If it’s God’s will for us to be there we will and if not then so be it. We’ll do all we can do and continue to talk to the people of Harlan County and do the very best job we can do.” Harlan County Clerk Donna Hoskins said the “turnout was good.”
“I appreciate all the election officers, Harp Enterprises and my staff who worked diligently with the big turnout vote,” said Hoskins. “We had a very smooth election — very quiet. The combining of precincts didn’t seem to create a problem. We look forward to the fall. We support all the winners and all the other candidates who filed for a political office during this primary election.”
Approximately 7,900 ballots were cast in the Primary Election out of 20,000 registered voters in the county Hoskins said.
With the pending retirement of Harlan County Jailer Curt Stallard, five Democrats and three Republicans vied for that office on Tuesday.
BJ Burkhart on the democratic ticket and Daniel Howard on the Republican ballot won with 2,183 and 693 number of votes respectively to meet each other in the November General Election.
“To the Democrats of all five districts, who gave me their vote of confidence today, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you enough,” said Burkhart. “I want each of you to know that my claim of ‘serving all countywide’ is an open invitation to serve every district the same without consideration of politics or party affiliation, but on the basis of need. It will take Democrat, Republican, and Independents working together to get us through the difficult times ahead. I encourage every person living in Harlan County that has a question or concern about me as their jailer or the future of the detention center to call or visit me with your questions or concerns.”
Howard, who won the Republican ticket for jailer said, “I appreciate all the people of Harlan County who have supported me during this Primary Election. I’m now asking for the continued support of all Harlan Countians as we head into this General Election. In this time of economic uncertainty your vote has never been more important and with your support I pledge to the people of our county to continue to run one of the most operationally fit and financially stable jails in the state.”
Nola Sizemore may be reached at 606-909-4147 or on Twitter @Nola_hde