Perdue, Gayheart re-elected after primary

By a margin of 815 votes, Clark County Sheriff Berl Perdue Jr. was re-elected to office Tuesday night.

Perdue ran against longtime Winchester Police officer Shannon Stone on the Republican primary ticket. No Democrats filed for the office, making it one of three races decided Tuesday night.

Perdue received 1,846 (64 percent) votes to Stone’s 1,031 (36 percent).

Perdue, who will start his fourth term in January 2019, said he is glad the campaign is over and is thrilled with the outcome.

“I feel good about the campaign I ran,” he said. “It was very positive campaign. I ran on my record. I was disappointed that my opponent wasn’t as positive and that I had to straighten out some numbers. But I am happy I ran a positive campaign, that’s what I believe in.”

Stone said he was thankful for those who did vote for him and congratulated Perdue on his victory.

Stone, who previously ran for sheriff in 2006, said it’s too soon to know for sure if he will run for office again.

“But I don’t like saying never,” he said. “I think if anyone feels they have a chance to make Clark County better, then they should run for office. If I didn’t feel I could positively impact Clark County, then I wouldn’t have run.”

Although he didn’t win, Stone said he has some hopes for the sheriff’s office.

“I would like to see the sheriff’s office continue to work on our drug epidemic and putting an emphasis on drug investigations,” Stone said. “We’re losing too many lives.

“I think I ran a good campaign, it just wasn’t enough.”

Perdue said his goals for this term include expanding the church security program, with plans for a second local seminar for congregations to learn safety measures. He also hopes to expand the neighborhood watch programs, noting that has been a challenge to do in the county. Perdue said he would also like to have the opportunity to hire more deputies.

“We are doing more with less right now,” he said. “I’d like to have more manpower to continue our mission and the good work we’ve been doing.”

Tuesday’s primary also determined that long-time Clark County Coroner Robert Gayheart would continue with his third term in the office.

Gayheart received 87.5 percent of the votes, with 3,782 to his opponent, Jeff Willison’s, 543.

Gayheart said he was humbled by the outcome.

“To think that 87.5 percent of those who voted in the Democratic primary selected me, that’s a lot of support to take in,” he said.

Gayheart was first appointed to the office in 2008 to fulfill the term of late coroner David Jacobs, and was elected to the office shortly after.

Gayheart said his goals for the office are to continue serving the people of Clark County the best he can.

“I want to serve Clark County in a way that I can help people in some of their tragic times and just be there for them in those moments,” he said.

Gayheart said although he never met his opponent, he respects him.

“I said at the candidates forum that my opponent was very sick and even though I’ve never met him, I wish him well,” Gayheart said. “He exercised his right to run for office and I respect him for that. I wish him the best and I continue to pray for him and a speedy recovery.”

About Whitney Leggett

Whitney Leggett is managing editor of The Winchester Sun and Winchester Living magazine. To contact her, email whitney.leggett@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0049.

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