A State Supreme Court decision that knocked more than 200 candidates from across the state off the ballot was just the start of a roller coaster year for local government.
The Pickens County Sheriff’s seat hasn’t been in question for more than 40 years, but as we turn our attention to November’s decision, change is looming over the heads of Pickens County voters.
At this point, only one thing is certain. David Stone will not be your Sheriff next year for the first time in over four decades. Everything else still remains a mystery.
Rick Clark changed the minds of Pickens County voters earlier this year with a commanding victory over Stone in the Republican primary. Clark’s campaign, focused on lowering the crime rate and putting “thugs” in jail, was enough to convince a community that values safety to head in a different direction.
Stan Whitten hoped to give Clark a run for his money in the primary, but was forced into a petition situation after being kicked off the ballot by the State Supreme Court.
Whitten got the signatures he needed to join the race in November, but so did Stone’s long-time assistant Tim Morgan.
Although he did not even think about campaigning until after his Sheriff was eliminated, Morgan said he received overwhelming support of his decision to throw his hat in the race.
It can be argued that Morgan may just be the man for the job. He has a long history with Pickens County that includes over 20 years of service with the Sheriff’s Office. Morgan assures that he will do things differently than Stone and, with endorsements from Stone and former sheriff candidate Keith Culbreath, he may just get the chance.
As Morgan and Whitten get set to take on Clark, it will almost certainly be a photo finish for these three candidates.
All of this begs the question of how important the office of Pickens County Sheriff really is.
Is it just another political seat, or does it mean a little more?
We think the Sheriff sets the tone for the community. The Sheriff either creates a positive attitude in the community by leading by example, or lets his officers do the work for him.
The reason Pickens County has been such a safe place to live over the past 40 years is because Sheriff Stone set the example. You don’t get elected to that many terms by simply making friends in the community. You have to be effective.
That’s what we will need from our next sheriff, whoever it may be.
If there was ever a seat worth fighting over, this would be the one. No matter who comes out on top in November, we think Pickens County will be in good hands.