When Ron Ward, Highland County sheriff since 1999, announced last year that he was stepping down less than a year into his latest term, Richard Warner and Donnie Barrera – both longtime employees of the sheriff’s office - sought the appointment to the office by the Highland County Republican Central Committee.
After interviewing both candidates, the committee appointed Warner, who began serving as sheriff in December. Both Warner and Barrera filed as candidates for the office. The law required that Barrera resign from the sheriff’s office to run for sheriff.
A special election, in conjunction with the regular elections of 2014, is being held to choose the person to fill Ward’s unexpired term through 2016.
No Democrat filed for sheriff, so the Republican primary on May 6 – early voting started April 1 – will decide the sheriff’s race, barring an independent candidate filing by the May 5 deadline.
Earlier this week, Warner and Barrera sat down for separate interviews with The Times-Gazette. What motivated them to get into law enforcement? What are their responses to rumors and accusations that have circulated on social media? What will be their top priorities if elected? These and other questions are answered in our special interviews presented today with both candidates.