The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

ENE Xtra

June 26, 2012

Niles, Jackson in runoff for sheriff

ENID — The next Garfield County sheriff will be decided in an Aug. 28 runoff between two current members of the department.

Undersheriff Jerry Niles took 45.6 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s primary and Lt. Shon Jackson took 24.35 percent. Former Enid Police Department Chief Rick West had 15.79 percent of the vote, and former Garfield County Deputy George Dillman took 14.25 percent.

Niles lead in the early going before things slowed down while a problem with the state’s online polling system was solved. No Democrats or independents filed for the office.

“I’m feel ecstatic,” Niles said late Tuesday evening. “It’s been a fast-paced campaign.”

Niles, who raised about $9,250 for his campaign, was quick to thank the others in the race after taking in 2,262 of the 4,960 votes cast Tuesday in his race.

“I want to say thank you all the other candidates and we will continue until the Aug. 28 runoff election,” he said. “We’ll send a message of experience, commitment and dedication.

“I do thank the other gentlemen in the campaign and particularly their interest in serving our community.”

Niles said he has been “truly blessed” in his campaign so far.

“I want to thank my family, my friends my supporters,” he said. “I’ve been truly blessed with some great people. The good Lord is looking down on me and I feel very good about this.”

Those celebrating at Jackson’s watch party could be heard cheering as Jackson said it was “awesome” to be in a runoff for sheriff.

“We can’t believe it,” Jackson said. “We felt like an underdog coming into this and we’re pretty excited here.”

Jackson received 1,206 votes.

“I think it gives us a better opportunity to really express what we want to do,” he said. “My hats off to all these guys. Everybody put out a lot of effort.”

Jackson thanked the other candidates for running a clean race, and said he was looking forward to the next two months.

West also thanked the others for running a clean race.

“I wanted to compliment the other candidates for the type of campaign they ran,” he said. “It was very clean and respectful and it was truly appreciated by everyone in the candidacy, including myself.”

West said he wanted to thank his supporters and express his gratitude to his wife, close friend John Sanders, who campaigned with him, and those who supported his campaign. He took 783 of the votes in the race.

“I truly appreciate everything everyone did for me,” he said. “It just wasn’t meant to be.”

West said he did not want to give his support to another candidate at this moment.

Dillman was sad to learn the results of the election, but said he was glad Jackson won a slot in the runoff.

“I’m glad Shon’s in it,” he said. “Shon without a doubt is, in my humble opinion, is the most professional candidate. That’s who I’ll be urging my support to. I wish Jerry the best of luck.”

Niles and Jackson will face off Aug. 28 in the runoff, which will determine who becomes the next sheriff because no Democrats ran.

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