Smith beats Bennett

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 8, 2000

Incumbent Democrat Sheriff Roy Smith will defend his position against Republican challenger Tim Sexton in November.

Wednesday, March 08, 2000

Incumbent Democrat Sheriff Roy Smith will defend his position against Republican challenger Tim Sexton in November.

Email newsletter signup

Smith gathered 3,010 votes against Democrat challenger and Chesapeake Police Chief Russell Bennett’s 2,116 votes.

"I’m just glad that the people of Lawrence County came out and showed their support," Smith said upon hearing the final election results. Smith’s family waited with him at the courthouse as the results filtered in, precinct by precinct. "It would seem as though the people have recognized all the hard work and dedication we’ve put into this job over the last seven years and I appreciate that they have chosen me to run for sheriff again."

As the totals continued to pour in at the Lawrence County Courthouse, Smith took an early lead and pulled ahead by about 400 votes with just 30 percent of precincts reporting.

As the lead became increasingly large, Smith’s supporters still held a tense vigil around the election board office, including 9-year-old Brianne Cochran, Smith’s granddaughter.

"I am here to see if my grandpa wins," she said, watching with her parents as another sheet of returns was distributed.

Challenging an incumbent is never easy, said Bennett as he calmly watched the returns.

"This is the people’s choice," Bennett said. "The people have chosen to have Sheriff Smith run again, and I respect that. I continue to respect Mr. Smith for the position that he holds and I will continue to do the best job I can for the people of Chesapeake."

Chesapeake Mayor Jimmie Justice also visited the courthouse on Bennett’s behalf and expressed concern over voter turnout, which was reportedly below 30 percent.

"No matter what choice the people make concerning the sheriff’s race, I just wish more people would have come out to vote," Justice said. "It’s a privilege to vote and more people should do their duty."

Although the Republican ticket held just one name, candidate and chief investigator for the Lawrence County Prosecutor’s office Tim Sexton said he was a bit surprised with at least one result.

"I figured voter turnout would at least reach 30 percent," Sexton said. "I was very pleased and I realize I’ve got hard work ahead of me, but I think the votes in the Democratic primary, especially those cast for Bennett, show that the people are looking for a change."