Allen County Sheriff race on track to be the most competitive in years

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – On Wednesday evening, another candidate entered the Allen County Sheriff’s race. Surrounded by loved ones Fort Wayne Police Captain Kevin Hunter announced he will run as a Democrat.

The last time a democrat won this race was back in the 1930s. According to the director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics, Andrew Downs, this will be an uphill battle for Hunter.

However, Hunter said he brings a lot to the table with his experience. He wants to use his background in narcotics to help those in the jail to the road of recovery with the jail chemical addiction program.

“For people who are just in recovery, they might be there for six to nine months or longer and everyday they are working on getting in recovery and stopping their drug use,” Hunter said

Downs added whenever there’s an open seat, it tends to bring out more candidates.

“In Indiana and throughout the country, we know that incumbents win at a really high percentage. So, when there’s a open seat it has a tendency to bring out more folks, and we know already that we have three candidates that have the potential to be high quality candidates right now,” Downs said. “It’s shaping up to be a really competitive race but it’s one that we should expect to be competitive.”

The two other candidates running for sheriff right now are Allen County Chief Deputy Troy Hershberger and Fort Wayne Police Deputy Chief Mitch McKinney. Both are on the Republican ticket and say they welcome the added competition.

“We’ll it doesn’t matter who is getting into the race, like I said from the beginning when I announced in October that I was entering the race, it’s an election not a selection,” McKinney said. “No matter what color of your uniform, we do different things when it comes to the justice system, but when it comes to it we want to run a community that’s safe for everybody to come to.”

“Oh it’s competition, which is great, I thrive on competition, I think we all do otherwise we wouldn’t be doing this. It’s a lot of work,” Hershberger said. “I’ve always accept challenge, as I laid the foundation over the last 32-years working for the Sheriff’s department.

In Allen County, Downs said that there’s a tradition that the hand picked successor for Sherriff tends to be in the department, but that is not a guarantee.

“On the republican side already we have McKinney, we have Hershberger. Both with resumes that certainly make them appear to be qualified candidates. If they take their campaigning seriously, raise money, do the things that campaigns have to do, then republican voters in the primary can expect a very vigorous campaign. Which is good for all of use because we are learning more and more about the candidate,” Downs said.

He continued saying that voters will benefit because the candidates are going to have to tell the voters why they’re the person who deserves the title of Allen County Sheriff.

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