David Hill will remain Nelson County Sheriff for another four years.
Incumbent independent David Hill secured 3,288 votes on Nov. 5. His challenger, Republican Daniel Jones, secured 2,680.
This year, Hill garnered 55% of votes. In the 2015 election, when Hill was running for the first time against another independent, a Republican, and a Democrat, he garnered 45% of the votes; 2,095.
Hill, after the election, said he was “tickled” by the results, but there is always room for improvement.
“The work continues. There are lots of long term goals to achieve,” Hill said.
The race, which kicked off in March when Jones announced his candidacy, was the most contentious race in Nelson County this year. Leading up to the vote, many former deputies accused Hill of being unfit to lead and creating an unhealthy, toxic work environment.
“The citizens have spoken and I will continue to serve them. It warms my heart,” Hill said. “I’m sorry many of the people have been caught up in all this drama.”
Larry Stopper, chairman of the Nelson County Democratic Committee, said he believes the high number of people who cast a vote for either sheriff was due to the heated nature of the race.
“Hill ran as an independent all the way. It’s my belief that the race was contentious, Hill is popular, and when people saw how contentious the race was and how hard Jones was working to replace him, people showed up to support their sheriff,” Stopper said.
Stopper said the Democratic party likes Hill and believes he is doing a good job.
“Many of us support him; obviously more than people wanting to replace him,” Stopper said.
Despite the final results, Jones doesn’t view this as a loss.
“I feel great,” Jones said on Nov. 5. “My goal during this was to put out information and I was able to inform citizens. I reached all the goals I set forward.”
Jones said he was prompted to run because he feels elected officials should be held accountable and he hopes the community will follow through with this.
“I hope over the next four years, the community really pays attention to elected officials. I truly believe it’s our job to maintain accountability in elected officials and ensure they are doing what we asked them to do,” Jones said.
Jones thanked his wife, Jessica, and the rest of his family for their support. Jones also thanked everyone who voted for him and supported him during his campaign.
“The people I know that were telling me they supported me, the numbers really show that,” Jones said.
Finally, Jones said, overall he is impressed with the surge of voters who came out to the polls on Election Day. According to the registrar’s office, voter turnout overall surpassed voter turnout in the 2015 election from the get-go. In the sheriff’s race this year, 5,968 votes were cast for either Jones, Hill, or a write-in. In 2015, 4,657 votes were cast for four total candidates, plus 10 write-in votes.
“People came out and voted and voiced who they wanted and that’s what our process is all about. I commend every voter who stated their voice,” Jones said.
Carlton Ballowe, chairman of the Nelson County Republican Committee, said votes were higher than the committee anticipated for the sheriff’s race.
“It was expected to be high, but it wasn’t expected that it would be that much higher. We looked at the total number that voted last time and set out to get more than 50% of what voted last time. We succeeded in that, but it wasn’t enough,” Ballowe said.
In Nelson County, there are 11,062 registered voters. Of those, 10,779 are active and 283 are inactive.
Erin Conway covers Nelson County for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5524.