Sheriff top vote-getter with 37 percent; police sgt. close with 34 percent

Dean Wilson and Erik Apperson are headed to a November runoff in the Del Norte County Sheriff race, beating former sheriff Jim Maready and Yurok Police Sgt. Elwood "Butch" Lee in the polls on Tuesday.

Wilson, who is seeking his fourth term in office, obtained 1,856 votes, while Apperson, a sergeant with the Crescent City Police Department, earned 1,720. Maready earned 1,068 votes and Lee received 363 votes.

Wilson said he was pleased overall with the result after final returns were in.

"I thought it went well," he said. "Given the number of individuals in the race and the amount of work that was put into the election, I felt that it was going to be a runoff more than likely in November. It'll be a good November ballot. It'll be interesting to see what the voters decide."

Wilson said his campaign leading into the June election largely focused on a comparison between his career and Maready's. Now as he heads into the November race, Wilson said his campaign will probably highlight his experience as sheriff.

"It'll be a different focus on the campaign of course because we're really focusing in on a different candidate now that it's down to just the two," he said. "Not that we didn't take Apperson as a serious candidate, but he wasn't present at any of the forums except for one that was the telecast, so he wasn't really a part of a lot of the processes along with the other candidates and I."

Wilson pointed out that while he and Maready were exchanging ads in the press prior to Tuesday's election, Apperson was out campaigning and drumming up support. He also said that while the Del Norte Republican Central Committee didn't endorse any one candidate for sheriff, their recommended picks were Maready, Lee and himself. Even though the sheriff's race is non partisan, Wilson said there are those who will vote according to party politics.

"Now as far as party politics go, you're pretty much down to just myself and Erik," Wilson said. "And so if you're looking at those that view party politics as the way they look at the world, then that's going to solidify (the choice) for a lot of the folks that were looking at Maready or Butch as the candidate of their choice."

Apperson, who waited for returns at Toreros with his supporters, said he was excited about the results.

"I think it demonstrates that people are definitely interested in other options," he said. "I'm very proud of the fact that my team and I have run a positive and clean campaign so far. I definitely think the public has responded well."

Apperson, who focused on increased community support for the Del Norte County Sheriff's Office and cooperation with other law enforcement agencies, said not much will change in his campaign leading up to the November election.

"Since the beginning I've discussed how we need to build, strengthen and maintain partnerships between the community and law enforcement," he said.

Maready, who was sheriff from 1995 to 2002, said he thought he and his supporters ran his campaign "the right way." This included going door to door, meeting a lot of people and asking them what their concerns were when it comes to the Sheriff's Office.

"There were several items, questions, I thought needed to be answered for the betterment of law enforcement and that was our message," Maready said. "We came in third. Evidently the message didn't come across in the right way.

When asked what candidate he would support going into the November election, Maready said it is up to the public to decide.

Even though he came in fourth out of four candidates, Lee said he was satisfied with his race.

"I ran a clean honest race, as far as I'm concerned," he said. "(I know) a couple of people that didn't. I guess mine didn't count and theirs did."

Lee said he appreciated those who supported him and voted for him.

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