Candidates talk in Rusk County sheriff’s runoff race

Sheriff's Runoff Preview

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Almost lost in the worries of the pandemic and protest movements are some important East Texas election run-off races.

One of them is a hotly contested Republican nominee race in Rusk County for the sheriff’s office.

The candidates are two men with extensive law enforcement careers.

The March vote in the Rusk County race for the Republican sheriff nominee produced a run-off between incumbent Jeff Price and challenger John Wayne Valdez.

Both men have stressed strong leadership in their campaigns.

“We need somebody who’s going to be in there and stay there and give this county stable reliable law enforcement. It’s leadership,” Price said.

“We need to be out there every day establishing relationships. I’ve done it in previous jurisdictions I’ve worked in, and I want to do it here,” Valdez said.

With the delay of the pandemic and the changing political climate, both emphasize trust in law enforcement.

“I want to lead from the front. If they have a face with the name and can sit down and talk to them, that trust starts then,” Valdez said.

“I came in and did what I said I was going to do. I will continue to do what I’ve been doing,” the sheriff said.

A hotly contested issue has been statistics on solved and unsolved cases and the percentage of arrests.

“Burglaries, thefts, sexual assaults, auto thefts - there’s an extremely low amount of arrests based in those cases,” Valdez said.

“Misinformation going around out there; they’re producing raw data numbers,” Price said.

“Nine-hundred-sixty-nine burglaries from 2014 to 2018. Few people going to jail,” Valdez said.

“When we run the statistics here, our actual clearance rate is around 65 percent, which is at or above the national average. Numbers can be skewed. There’s a lot of raw data out there but no explanation of how that data breaks down,” Price said.

“It’s not change; it’s results,” Valdez said.

Run-off election day for the Rusk County race is July 14th.

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