In one of the most talked about primary races in recent history, Switzerland County Chief Deputy Brian Morton emerged as the Republican nominee for County Sheriff in Tuesday’s primary election — in a convincing way.
Morton, the only candidate in the field of three with previous law enforcement experience, defeated challengers Jason ‘JJ’ Sullivan and Rod Chase; and will now face Democratic nominee Cory Hankins in the November General Election.
Morton tallied 745 votes in the primary countywide, followed by Sullivan with 347 votes and Chase with 250.
Morton won 10 of the county’s 12 voting precincts: Cotton I, Cotton II, Craig I, Craig II, Jefferson I, Jefferson II, Jefferson III, Pleasant I, Pleasant II, and York; and finished second in Posey I and Posey II.
Chase won two precincts: Posey I, Posey II; and finished second in Cotton I and York; while Sullivan did not win any of the precincts, but finished second in seven of the precincts: Craig I, Craig II, Jefferson I, Jefferson II, Jefferson III, Pleasant I, and Pleasant II.
Sullivan and Chase tied for second behind Morton in Cotton II
In the Democratic primary, Hankins was the only candidate, and he received 138 votes on Tuesday.
Hankins and Morton will now face off to replace outgoing Sheriff Nathan Hughes in the General Election, which will take place on November 6th.
After the vote totals were released on Tuesday morning, Morton, who was surrounded by family and friends at the courthouse, reflected on the win.
“I feel real good,” Morton said. “It was a tough race. There were a lot of good people running, and hopefully the last 20-some years of my experience serving this county has helped me out in this race.”
Morton started in the Switzerland County Sheriff’s Office in 1998; and after a time serving as the Chief of the Vevay Police Department before returning to the Sheriff’s office, where he has worked as a detective, a deputy, and now serves as Sheriff Nathan Hughes’ Chief Deputy.
As he has campaigned around the county during the primary season, Morton said he heard from many that experience was important.
“The biggest thing I heard from the voters, is that obviously they wanted somebody with experience,” he said. “I think we all feel that way, no matter who we’re hiring someone for a job to do — we want somebody with experience.”
Morton said that he will be campaigning just as hard as he now faces Democrat Cory Hankins in the November General Election, and although he is taking nothing for granted, he also has thought about new ideas should he be elected to the office.
“We have a great crew, probably the best group of deputies and employees in the history of the sheriff’s office, and that’s something that I’ve worked very hard for the last three and a half years,” Morton said. “Your place of business is only as good as the employees who are doing the job for you. I think we’ve got some ideas we’re going to kick around. Always try to do our best. We’re not too good to say that maybe a plan doesn’t work and maybe step back and regroup and try something different.”