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Rushing gets Democratic nod; faces Harper Nov. 6

It is unusual for a race with five candidates to be decidedoutright, but incumbent Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing tookan early lead in Tuesday night’s Democratic primary and neverlooked back.

After many political observers predicted a runoff, voters statedoverwhelmingly through their ballots that they are not onlysatisfied with the current administration, but also ready tocontinue in the same direction.

Rushing won the race outright with 59.28 percent of the vote tooutdistance the competition.

“I’m just overwhelmed and honored at the turnout of the peopleof Lincoln County,” Rushing said. “I’m overcome by the results. Wewere expecting a good showing but this is far beyond ourexpectations.”

Rushing will now go on to face Terry Harper, who was unopposedin the Republican primary, in the Nov. 6 general election.

Tuesday night after the first four precincts weighed in,including East Lincoln, which was home territory for former sheriffLynn Boyte and car salesman Gene “Bub” Simmons, the totals hadRushing with 475 votes, Boyte in second place with 207, and RobertBerry, Simmons, and B.W. Pitts rounding out the fieldrespectively.

With 16 of 32 precincts reporting, Rushing led the pack with1,652 votes to Boyte’s 764 and Berry’s 521. There was never a timeafter the first round of boxes that Rushing did not have at least50 percent of the counted votes.

At the end of the count, Rushing’s 5,681 votes eclipsed Boyte’s2,116 and Berry’s 984. Simmons finished with 663 votes and Pittswith 138.

Rushing said the results left him humbled and grateful, but alsoconfident in the future of the county.

“This shows the strength of what people can do when they worktogether,” Rushing said. “That’s what I’ve been trying to do sincethe beginning of the time I got in office. The work that we’vebegun together in the last 10 months we will continue to worktoward in the next four years.”

He was appointed sheriff in August 2006 after former sheriffWiley Calcote resigned and pleaded guilty to a charge ofembezzlement by a public official.

Rushing said he’s taking nothing for granted as he readies toface Harper in the general election.

“We’re past the primary,” he said. “But I’ve still got Novemberto think about. The next step is to prepare for November.”

Until then, though, Rushing reminds himself that a sheriff’swork is never done.

“Tomorrow? I’m going to work,” he said.