Sheriff Wayne McKinney will become the longest tenured Stephens County Sheriff after winning the Republican Primary over Cris Lang with a wide margin Tuesday night.
McKinney gathered 64.4% of the vote with 4,092 votes while opponent Lang came in with a total of 2,262 votes unofficially as results will become official Friday evening.
Having a big lead the whole evening, McKinney, after sitting in his office and visiting with folks at his watch party at the Stephens County Courthouse, said he felt good to be re-elected.
“It feels great and I was asked several years ago what it takes to be a good sheriff and over the 12 years I have proved that,” McKinney said. “One of the big things key to re-election is earning the trust of your voters and we proved that over 12 years and the way the vote came out with the large percentage win — people do have trust in my department and I promise them again I won’t let them down.”
Lang, who watched the results as it came in, said he is at peace with the decision by the Stephens County voters and wishes McKinney the best in the next four years.
“When it was first brought up to me about running, of course it was because Sheriff McKinney was retiring and I was asked to run and I told them I would think about it and I thought about it and I decided I had too much tax payer training and experience to not offer,” Lang said. “I made the decision to throw my hat in the ring and let the results do whatever they are. I am at peace with the decision and I knew I was going to be when I started. If I was meant to win, I would have won and obviously there is something else in store for me. I am incredibly grateful for all the people who supported me and voted for me and put that trust in me. I was intent to do the very best job I could if I won but since that didn’t happen I wish the very best for Sheriff McKinney and hope he has a successful four years.”
This win will bring McKinney his fourth term in office. This term will make him the longest tenured Sheriff in Stephens County history, a distinction he’s proud to have.
“That is quite an honor and it has been a tough job and we have come a long way over this 12 years and have built a very professional and accountable Sheriff’s office and we will continue that way,” McKinney said. “My wife and I had a lot of discussions with rather or not if I would run again and we both agreed that things were still going real good and my health is good and my office is performing well and I have a lot of good employees and we made that decision that I would seek this term. I am very thankful to the voters of Stephens County of that opportunity to serve as another term as sheriff.”
McKinney said he has big goals for his next term in office.
“We are going to continue the course we have been doing for several years and that is maintaining our 100% clearance rate of all major felony crimes committed within our county,” McKinney said. “We want to increase the other crimes — we are at 87-89% clearance rate but I would like to see that up as well. We would like to continue our education for our deputies, especially in the mental health area as that is a big issue in our country and taking part in our communities.”
Votes will become official Friday when the Stephens County Election Board certifies results.