The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

June 3, 2014

Trooper Smith will face Blakely in Limestone sheriff race

— Alabama state trooper Eric Smith won the Republican primary election Tuesday, making him the challenger to Democratic incumbent Sheriff Mike Blakely in the Nov. 4 general election.

Smith garnered 4,708 of the 8,747 total votes cast in the race, or 53.8 percent, according to final but unofficial election returns.

“I was hoping for that,” Smith said of his victory Tuesday night. “I’m just glad everyone turned out to vote and I appreciate everyone’s support — my friends, my family and all the people I have gotten the opportunity to get out and meet on the campaign trail.”

Smith beat former Limestone County sheriff’s patrol deputy Brad Pullum, who received 3,251 votes, or 37.1 percent; and Eric Redd, former soldier and design engineer, who received 788 votes, or 9 percent.

The turnout for Tuesday’s Republican and Democratic primaries was lackluster. Of the 48,931 registered voters in Limestone County, only 11,095 total ballots were cast — a 22.67 percent turnout.

From now until November, Smith said his goal would be to keep at it and keep on message.

He said he believes Limestone County is “ready for a younger generation to come in and lead.

“I think they are looking for new ideas and new leadership skills and I think that’s what got people to the polls this time,” he said. “I hope they are a ready for a new direction to   the sheriff’s department.”

Blakely, who has been sheriff since 1982, was unopposed on the Democratic ticket and, therefore, goes on to the general election against Smith.

Smith, who has been an Alabama state trooper since 1996 and a former Limestone reserve deputy, vowed to reduce wasteful spending, increase the number of deputies on patrol, ensure that sheriff’s employee’s are placed in leadership positions based on standards and merit, combat the growing drug problem and work more closely with other law-enforcement agencies.

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