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Oswego chief wins GOP_sheriff's race : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Oswego chief wins GOP_sheriff's race
Baird may run un-opposed in general election; voter turnout just 19%

by Tony Scott


Oswego Police Chief Dwight Baird sailed to a landslide victory Tuesday evening in a three-way race for the Republican nomination for Kendall County Sheriff.

Provided a Democrat or independent doesn't jump into the November general election race, Baird will be the next sheriff, replacing long-time Sheriff Richard A. Randall in December.

Voter turnout at Kendall County polling places was just 19 percent. Just 12,284 of the county's 64,336 registered voters cast ballots Tuesday.

Baird received 67 percent of the vote, according to unofficial vote totals, with 7,149 ballots cast in his favor. Plano Police Chief Steven Eaves received 1,902 votes (18 percent), while Jeff Christiansen of Oswego received 1,676 votes (16 percent).

At a victory celebration at Yorkville Bowl Tuesday evening, a DJ blasted John Mellencamp songs while Kendall County Coroner Ken Toftoy presented Baird with a pair of pink boxer shorts, courtesy of Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Baird said he attributed his victory to "years of hard work and being honest," and that he's always been open to talking to people.

"Anybody who's had a problem or a question, they call up and they can talk directly to the chief," he said. "I've always been accessible to the people."

Baird said it's "important to be out in the community, and be part of the community."

Baird also said he ran a clean and positive campaign.

"We ran a campaign based on my experiences, my credentials and what made me a good candidate," he said. "There was nothing negative, and I think that's important. I think people look at law enforcement, and they want to see somebody that has integrity, that has honesty, and is there to serve the people."

Baird noted that Democrats supported him in the primary by pulling a Republican ballot. Among the supporters at his party Tuesday was Kendall County Democratic Party Chairman Chuck Sutcliff.

"We don't vote on bills, we enforce laws," Baird said. "So it doesn't matter what political party you're affiliated with, we enforce the laws the same."

Harold Martin, the former Yorkville police chief who Baird has said will be his future chief deputy, said Tuesday he and Baird will work together for the county.

"We're going to do the best job we can for the Kendall County community," Martin said. "We want our officers to be more community friendly, and that's what it's all about - customer service."

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