It was one of two three-way battles in last week’s primary election, giving county voters a hard choice to make as to who they wanted to see as the next LaGrange County Sheriff.
In the end, current Chief Deputy Jeff Campos won the Republican nomination with 40 percent of the vote. Deputy Randy Mellinger was just shy of Campos, receiving 36 percent of the vote. LaGrange Town Marshal Richard Snyder ended the night with 24 percent of the vote.
“It was like a roller coaster,” Campos said. “The best thing about it was our committee worked hard.”
All three candidates worked to get to as many locations in the county and to meet as many residents as they could. “It was amazing the number of people who knew me. They had researched me,” Campos said. Campos noted that many voters like his community involvement, something he fully intends to carry on with.
Campos added that he doesn’t feel there needs to be any big changes to the department, but is looking at ways to make improvements. He is also looking to work with other agencies to “Communicate, collaborate and train with other agencies,” he said. “We want to have a plan in place for events.”
Mellinger also enjoyed the opportunity to meet with county residents. “I was very impressed with the questions voters had,” Mellinger said. “I was proud to be a part of the American system. Everyone gets an opportunity to vote.”
Despite the whirlwind of campaigning, Mellinger said that for the few days prior to the elections, he was at peace. And on election night “even though it wasn’t looking favorable, we still had a good time. I wouldn’t trade my supporters for anything,” Mellinger stated. “Most of them were new to politics.”
For Snyder, the experience has allowed him to make contacts around the county that he plans to keep. “I plan to be involved around the county with other local departments,” he said. Snyder had made a point throughout the campaign to be present at town board meetings around the county to listen in on their concerns. “It’s time to get back to work and work together,” he said.
“I brought some issues out to make folks aware of them,” Snyder added. “And I enjoyed the process.”