Sheriff candidates face off in heated race

Lachlan Johnson

The Sheriff’s race is turning out to be one the most highly contested and divisive items on the Walla Walla ballot. On Nov. 4, incumbent-Sheriff John Turner will face off against Sergeant Tom Cooper to decide the next sheriff of Walla Walla County.

The Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office is the primary responder in cases of public safety in rural Walla Walla county, and it acts as backup for the Walla Walla Police Department (WWPD) within the city limits.
In August, a primary election determined which two candidates would be on the November ballot. Turner captured 45.4 percent of the vote in the primary, compared to Cooper’s 29.6 percent. The primary also eliminated Sergeant Barry Blackman, who received 25.0 of votes. Blackman has since endorsed Cooper; combined, their percentage of the electorate in the primary would have totaled 54.6 percent of the vote, enough to defeat the incumbent. As Turner and Cooper work to convince Blackman supporters and those who did not vote in the primary to join their cause, The Pioneer sat down with each candidate to explore their views of issues affecting the Whitman community.

Read the interviews with Turner and Cooper online or in the Pioneer’s print edition.