• 79°

Voters have big task in picking new sheriff

In every election season, there are upsets and surprises – awell-established incumbent who most thought was safely entrenchedis knocked off by an opponent. Such is the democratic system thatmakes this country unique and is the foundation of this nation’sgreatness.

Tuesday’s primary runoff found several such incumbents acrossthe state become victims of voters’ fickleness. Here in LincolnCounty, long-time Sheriff Lynn Boyte was one of those incumbentswho after years of public service finds himself suddenly ponderinga new future.

Defeated by Democratic challenger and Post One Constable WileyCalcote, a 16-year career was suddenly ended. Calcote will faceRepublican Charley Evans and Independent James Williams Jr. in theNov. 4 general election.

Not to take anything away from Mr. Calcote’s efforts andresulting victory, but we have heard numerous comments of disbeliefamong local voters and others from across the state who knew andhad worked with Sheriff Boyte over the years.

The sheriff’s reputation as a law enforcement officer ofimpeccable credentials, with an efficiently-run sheriff’sdepartment that is considered to be one of the state’s best, iswell known. Despite that reputation, local voters have spoken anddecided it is time for a change.

How did someone of his reputation and 16 years of servicesuddenly fall out of favor? It is a question probably best answeredby Boyte in his comments shortly after the results were announcedTuesday night.

“Over sixteen years of law enforcement, you’re are bound to makesome people mad,” he said.

Boyte says he is proud of his accomplishments and, despite hisloss, has no regrets. “We’ve done a lot of good things and we havegotten this county in good shape.”

We could not agree more.

Between now and Nov. 4, Lincoln County voters have some soulsearching.

Three individuals will be seeking to become this county’s toplaw enforcement officer. Each has unique qualities andqualifications that voters will need to consider.

The eventual winner will have some very big shoes to fill.Fortunately for that individual, the office is well organized witha competent staff in place to run the sheriff’s departmentsmoothly.

Having worked with Lynn for the past 16 years, I will miss hispresence, for it was a comfort knowing that he was on the job notonly professionally but also personally .

But times change and nothing stays the same. The voters havespoken and asked for new leadership.

We all now have a responsibility to make it a point to learn asmuch as possible about each of the candidates. We can then makedecisions on which one will best represent the citizens of LincolnCounty by protecting and serving us as Sheriff Lynn Boyte did sowell for so many years.