By Jeanne LeFlore
The people of Pittsburg County have voted to re-elect Joel Kerns for Pittsburg County sheriff for a second four-year term.
Kerns ran against Independent candidate Tracy Parrott, a former Pittsburg County sheriff’s deputy.
Kerns faced several opponents on his way to tonight’s big win.
First he had to win the primary election running against fellow Democrats Dusty Swing and Doy Sennett. He won the June 28th primary election by a landslide.
The election was peppered with controversy in April as Parrott unsuccessfully challenged Kern’s candidacy. Later that same month Parrott accused Kerns of using inmates to wash his personal vehicles. Parrott wasn’t able to prove the accusation and Kern’s denied it ever happened.
“I've never ever took nothing from the county or wanted something from the county that doesn't belong to me," Kerns said.
Meanwhile, at Tuesday’s election party Kerns told more than 400 people at the Southeast Expo Center that he was happy the people of Pittsburg County took the time to vote this year.
“I am so happy with the turnout and I look forward to serving this county another four years,” he said.
During the watch party, Kerns told the crowd that it’s hard work being sheriff. “This is a tough job,” Kerns said. “I want you all to know how thankful I am to have this job.”
Crowder resident Scott Hopkins said he was happy Kerns won.
“It’s incredible, Hopkins said. “He’s a great person who really cares about people.”
Kerns said this was his third time running for the office and he knows what it’s like to lose an election.
“I didn’t win the first time I ran,” he said. “I had lots of help campaigning this time around from my friends and employees, I really appreciate their help.
Parrott could not be reached for comment.
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