PARIS | Monroe County's chief deputy posted a convincing win Tuesday to be the next sheriff in the Republican Party Primary Election.
Joe Colston defeated his challenger, Monroe City Police Chief Tyler Wheeler, 1,166 votes to 751 votes, a nearly 61 percent to 39 percent margin to replace retiring Sheriff David Hoffman. There is no Democrat running in the November General Election, meaning that Colston is the presumptive sheriff-elect.
“We just got with the people of the county and let them know what my goals were for the sheriff's office,” Colston said, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic has made for a “weird year to campaign.”
Wheeler, a veteran law enforcement office who is the elected city marshal in Monroe City, offered well wishes for Colston and said that his department will continue to have a good working relationship with the Sheriff's Department.'
“I did everything right,” he said of his campaign. “I hope nothing but the best for Joe and his upcoming staff.”
Colston started a business career before going to the Law Enforcement Academy at MACC, graduating in 2006. He immediately went to work for the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. He has also completed the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Training program.
He has been chief deputy since 2010. As chief deputy, he oversees the County Jail and leads major investigations, including leading the case against Jason Lage, who was convicted in 2018 of the 2014 murder of Zachary Dawson.
Colston said his first move as sheriff will be to appoint a longtime deputy, Sgt. Tony Coleman, who has 27 years in law enforcement, as chief deputy. Coleman joined the Monroe County sheriff's office full time in 2015 after spending two years as a reserve deputy.
“I am honored, to say the least,” Coleman said on Tuesday night. “It means a lot to know that Joe has confidence in me. I think we have an amazing group of people right now and we will continue to do the good work we have been doing.”
Coleman said that his two years as a reserve deputy sold him on becoming a full-time deputy when the job was offered. He said that Colston and Hoffman have been good leaders.
“They have been excellent,” he said.
In the Republican Primary Election for Monroe County Western District Commissioner to replace Ron Staggs, who ran for the Republican nomination for the District 40 seat on the House of Representatives, farm owner and longtime civic activist Marilyn O'Bannon defeated Billy Johnston Jr., 697-355, a margin of about 66 percent to 34 percent.
O'Bannon, who has been a leader in the landowner fight against eminent domain for the massive Grain Belt Express privately owned electricity transmission project, will face Democrat Jack Bush in the Nov. 3 General Election.
“This is not just a job; it is about the people. People having faith and me wanting to represent them,” O'Bannon said. “Grain Belt is definitely an issue, but it is not my whole platform. I have worked hard to get here before I decided to run, to represent the people in my area.”
Other races had only one Democrat and one Republican on the ballot. Republican Jessica Chase will face Democrat Tara Garside in the General Election for public administrator, while Republican Melinda Hames will be pitted against Democrat Tammy Breid for Assessor.