The sheriffs in Richmond, Aiken and Edgefield counties have easily won re-election to another term.
In early returns, Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree was easily outpacing his opponent Brian McDuffie, the ex-deputy who took on the boss who fired him for excessive force several years ago,
In Aiken County, Sheriff Mike Hunt appeared to be the hands-down favorite to win yet another term, defeating challenger Henry “Hank” Sims.
Edgefield County results were showing an lopsided win for Sheriff Adell Dobey over challenger Michael Raffield.
Celebrating at the Legends Club on Washington Road with a small group of friends and supporters, Sheriff Roundtree said the results are a validation of what he did four years ago.
“We feel like we swayed a lot of people who didn’t support us last time,” Roundtree said. “I think it’s a great statement moving forward for the next four years in Richmond County”
After one term in office, Roundtree had a lot to brag on during his low-key re-election campaign, including a drop in major crimes and the agency receiving both state and national accreditation.
McDuffie had promised to have a more efficient agency that made employee retention a priority. He pledged to provide more opportunities and increase staff salaries as well as re-structure the agency from the top down by merging and dissolving some non-field operation positions.
After the loss, McDuffie said his fight was not over. “Even though we have lost this battle…the war is far from over,” he said. “There are those of us out here that will still continue to fight for transparency and against corruption.”
In Aiken County, there was never any signs of a serious challenge from Sims, a veteran law enforcement officer. He never gained any traction or much media attention in his effort to unseat the incumbent sheriff. Sims is currently assistant police chief of Batesburg-Leesville Police Department.
In a recent Facebook post, Sims made an issue of Aiken County paying out over $400,000 in civil suits. “It’s clear that we need changes in law enforcement,” he said in a post that got just three comments and 10 likes.
After the results were in, Sims said he ran an exhaustive campaign and got his message out, but the voters were not moved.
“The people have spoken: No change. They are satisfied with what they got,” Sims said, adding that he will continue to work in law enforcement.
Sheriff Hunt did not return phone messages seeking comment.
In Edgefield County, Sheriff Dobey declined all debates with Raffield. That didn’t matter to voters, who didn’t seem willing to unseat a sheriff that had performed the job sufficiently.
Raffield, a veteran lawman and former officer for Edgefield County, made several local appearances and pointed out that Dobey had pledged to form a Community Advisory Board, which he did not.
Statement from Raffield: “I would like to thank the residents of Edgefield County for the opportunity to run for Sheriff. Thank you to all those who supported us, worked tirelessly to the campaign & voted. Congrats to Sheriff Dobey & his supporters in their victory. I look forward to trying to take another bite at the apple in four years.”
Full Statement from Brian McDuffie: “I want to thank all of those that have assisted with the campaign and voted for us. I also want to thank those that came out and shown your support. I state to all citizens of Richmond County that even though we have lost this battle…the war is far from over. There are those of us out here that will still continue to fight for transparency and against corruption. We pray for all citizens of Richmond County and all deputies of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office in the coming year. We will be seen again as we will never give up on this community.