By Jennifer Edwards
Enquirer staff writer
HAMILTON - A law enforcement veteran who has served as the Butler County sheriff's second-in-command for 11 years took a strong early lead in the sheriff's race Tuesday.
With 30 percent of the 289 precincts reporting, Butler County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Richard K. Jones led with 62 percent of the vote over opponent Springboro police officer Dale S. Richter, who had 38 percent of the vote.
The winner will replace Sheriff Harold Don Gabbard, who will retire at year's end after heading the department since 1993.
Jones' name and face were familiar in the county before the campaign began; Richter was virtually unknown.
"I have had a lot of good support. I couldn't do it without all the support I had from the employees, the party and all the good people who supported me," Jones, 51, said Tuesday night. "And I'd like to also say that my campaign was all positive. Not one negative ad; none whatsoever.
"I can get up in the morning and smell fresh. I don't smell like I've been throwing slime on people. You can still win a race without running negative," Jones said.
Richter, 35, ran on a platform that deputies and taxpayers needed a sheriff who understands what deputies face daily, noting he has something Jones doesn't: experience as a road officer. Richter has 14 years experience in law enforcement.
But Jones said Richter's background hadn't prepared him for the responsibilities of the sheriff's job. By comparison, Jones has been second-in-command of the eighth-largest sheriff's office in Ohio and manages a $25 million budget and oversees 340 employees.
Overall, Jones has 28 years experience in corrections and law enforcement.
Jones also had the advantage of being a Republican in a Republican-dominated county. He amassed a $137,000 war chest, the largest of any Butler County candidate on the Nov. 2 slate.
That includes $10,000 from the county Republican Party and numerous small contributions from businesses, citizens and current sheriff's employees.
In contrast, Richter, a Republican who turned Democrat, had to bankroll his own campaign. A successful cattle farmer, he loaned $39,500 to his election effort and reported just one $25 contribution from a citizen on his last expense report.
OHIO ELECTION RESULTS:
Ohio provisional ballots may decide presidential election
Voters repeal amendment on gay rights
Ohio Supreme Court: GOP's justices appear to be buttressing majority
Voinovich has no trouble winning 2nd Senate term
Sycamore levy passes; four others fail
Kerry effort falls short in Ohio
Ohio Republicans aim to maintain grip in House, Senate
Ohio election briefs
Ohio Issue 1 passes
Turnout heavy in suburbs
MU students hit the polls
HAMILTON CO. RACES
Cincinnati school levy passes
Hospital tax leading despite opposition
CLERMONT CO. RACES
Clermont County: Republicans remain choice in early count
Clermont County tax issues: Long lines delay counting
BUTLER CO. RACES
Fairfield levy passes
Butler commission: All incumbents being returned
Butler levies: Support strong for health, social care funding
Butler County Sheriff: Jones likely successor to Gabbard
WARREN CO. RACES
Heavy turnout, long lines delay vote count
Kings levy passes by slim margin
Indiana governor: Daniels prevails after tough, costly slugfest
Ballot misprint may affect Ind. school board race
KENTUCKY ELECTION RESULTS:
Alexandria: Voters stick with City Council's six incumbents
Bellevue City Council: Two incumbents losing seats with 4 of 5 precincts counted
Covington: Sanders and Stricker joining City Commission
Campbell County: Ward holds on to retain seat on Circuit Court
Florence City Council: One newcomer, five incumbents win seats
Independence: Four who opposed insurance tax win
Newport: Mayor, all four on council will be keeping their seats
Suburban schools: Campbell, other area boards get fresh faces
Villa Hills, Taylor Mill: Taxes to fix, replace city streets rejected
Urban schools: Newcomer ousts incumbent, snags Newport board seat
N. Ky. election briefs
Popular president dominates Kentucky
Ky. Senate: Bunning wins - but race was close
Ky. House: This time around, Davis prevails
Issue One: Kentucky overwhelmingly says yes to no-gay-marriage
State's determined voters brave long lines, waits, rain
23rd Senate District: Westwood survives challenge by Groob
Ex-Gov. Carroll wins Frankfort seat
State Senate: Republican Thayer wins a full term in new seat
67th House District: Keene's win preserves spot for Democrats
IN THE TRISTATE
Shelter director traveled from needing to helping
Help Habitat by hiring yard rakers
Father inspired mission journey
Cone throw may bring legal action
Police dogs could get TV time at competition
Harrison man charged in auto fatals
Exhibit to spotlight 350 years of Judaism in America
Medal of Honor graves get special markers
Local news briefs
Neighbors news briefs
Good Things Happening
Gay Weber designed jet engines for GE
Time of change in Crestview Hills
Waltz or swing, timid students learn to let go
Florence Freedom has a deal
$545,000 grant to bolster Ky. health-care work force
N. Ky. news briefs
Jewelry gone after autopsy of corpse
N.Ky. schools' education guide available online
Murder counts filed in wreck that killed 2