Bates, Sanders look toward sheriff runoff

Published 7:43 pm Friday, June 4, 2010

The Marengo County Democratic race for sheriff is headed to a July 13 runoff after Randy Sanders and Richard E. “Ben” Bates each drew more than 2,700 votes in Tuesday’s primary election.

Sanders, a deputy of the Marengo County Sheriff’s Department, pulled 2,784 votes, 39.07 percent of the more than 7,000 ballots cast. Bates netted 2,726 votes, 38.25 percent of turned in ballots.

“I’m very satisfied with it,” Bates said of Tuesday’s results. “I didn’t get the chance to campaign as much as I’d like because I’ve still got to pay the bills at the house. Hopefully, people won’t hold that against me. I’d like to get out there and meet a few more people I didn’t get to meet and still be able to hang on to those people who did vote for me.”

Sanders reported being similarly satisfied with Tuesday’s results.

“We’re satisfied,” the deputy said. “We’ve done everything we could do. We want to thank everybody who came out and voted and we’d like to ask them to come out and vote again.”

Much like his opponent, Sanders is juggling the challenges of running a campaign and maintaining his full-time duties.

“My thing is, I’ve got to work to do,” Sanders said. “So I’m going to try to meet as many people as I can while at the same time trying to keep the citizens of the county safe also.”

With less than six weeks to go until the runoff election, neither candidate plans to alter campaign strategy, holding firm to the methods that proved successful enough to force the polls to open again July 13.

“My message is going to be the same because the problems in the county haven’t changed,” Bates said. “I’m trying to mobilize people all in the county to mobilize a particular area.”

“We’re just going to try to get out and meet as many people as we can,” Sanders said. “I’m going to do the same things I’ve been doing for the last 17 years, treat people fair and honest.”

The winner of the Bates-Sanders runoff July 13 will go on to the November general election to face Republican candidate Bobby Duke, who ran unopposed in Tuesday’s primary race.