UPDATED 1 a.m. with 100 percent precincts reporting — Robinson wins with 18,592 votes (69 percent) to McLemore's 8,246 votes (31 percent).
Incumbent Jefferson County Sheriff Gerald Robinson jumped out to a big lead early and never lost it as he defeated retired Arkansas State Police Special Agent Roger McLemore Tuesday night for a fourth term as sheriff.
Unofficial totals show:
• Robinson — 17,165 votes or 70.21%
• McLemore — 7,283 votes or 29.79%
“I’m ecstatic that the people of Jefferson County had the confidence in me and the work that we are doing to give me another term in office,” Robinson said.
He said his first priority in the next two years is to get the entire sheriff’s department into the new building which will be constructed adjacent to the adult detention center. Ground will be broken for that building Wednesday at 9 a.m.
“We also need to find other ways to increase income as the tax base declines,” Robinson said. “When I became sheriff, we had seven or eight sources for revenue and since I’ve been sheriff, we’ve added about eight more. We also may look at more partnerships with the Arkansas Highway Department for our Clean Team program.”
Robinson, who faced no primary opposition, ran on his background and experience, noting that he had worked for the sheriff’s department since 1986, and during his career, had worked in and commanded every division of the department, including the jail, civil, patrol and criminal investigation.
He also said he had fulfilled every campaign promise he made when he first sought the office, replacing former sheriff Boe Fontaine who did not seek re-election.
“I said we were going to be tough on dead beat dads and we started the Operation Mother’s Day program. We’ve been aggressive about it and we’ve worked with the Child Support Enforcement Office. We’ve served over $30,000 in papers on dead beat parents, in addition to all the other papers we serve.”
He also pledged to go after drug dealers and said the sheriff’s department had worked with state, federal and other local agencies to crack down on drugs.
Robinson also cited the Adopted Grandparents program, and increased patrols in both the cities and unincorporated areas of the county.
In addition, he said the adult jail is making money, and by the end of next year, the new sheriff’s’ department building should be open, putting all the various divisions of the department under one roof.
“I’m proud of my record and proud of the things we’ve accomplished,” Robinson said.
McLemore, who ran as an independent, said he did so because neither the Democratic or Republican parties fit his personal beliefs and philosophies.
A retired criminal investigator with the state police, McLemore said he decided to run for sheriff “because I want Jefferson County to be the best it can be.”
Regarding his background, McLemore said “we’ve had a run on crime and nobody seems to be doing anything about it.”
On the subject of drugs, McLemore said drugs are the cause of a number of the homicides reported in the county, as well as other crimes and “I’m going to do the best I can to get the drugs and the thugs out of town.”
According to campaign contribution and expenditure reports filed in the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office before the Nov. 30 deadline, Robinson raised three times as much cash as McLemore, receiving $50,612.91 to $14,082.92 for McLemore.