Mike Strong has been elected to his third term as Buchanan County sheriff.
The Democratic incumbent beat out Republican challenger Pat Grove by 7 percent of the vote Tuesday. Mr. Strong received 18,537 votes to Mr. Grove’s 16,070; there were 117 write-in votes.
Mr. Strong said he was “relieved” to have won the voters’ approval for the third time, acknowledging that his opponent ran a tough campaign.
“I’m just very thankful,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of support for the last eight years and I’m very proud to be a three-term incumbent sheriff for this county.”
Mr. Strong, throughout his campaign, ran on his administration’s accomplishments over the past eight years. That included, he said, developing award-winning programs, including the Cyber Crimes Unit and an online sex offender registry, and consistently operating under budget, even during the 2011 flood.
“We were confident in what we accomplished over the last eight years, and I think a lot of people realized that,” he said after the votes were tallied Tuesday evening.
Mr. Strong, 57, dedicated his campaign to his father, Jerry Strong, but said in his victory speech that this would be his last term as sheriff.
He was first elected to the position in 2004. He previously served in the St. Joseph Police Department and as commander of the Buchanan County Drug Strike Force.
Mr. Grove, a retired captain with the Kansas City Police Department, conceded to Mr. Strong about an hour after the polls were closed.
If elected, Mr. Grove said he was hoping to tighten the department’s spending, as well as bring community policing back to rural Buchanan County. Mr. Grove, 60, has 37 years of law enforcement experience, including seven as the director of training with the St. Joseph Police Department and 30 years as a commanding officer with the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.
“I’m obviously disappointed, but I know we did everything that we were supposed to do,” he said. “ ... Fortunately, I’m the retired guy and really, the only thing that changes is it’s just not a hectic day on the run any more and I can kind of relax for a while.”