Incumbent sheriff, previous challenger make campaign push as early voting begins

Incumbent sheriff, previous challenger make campaign push as early voting begins

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Thousands of voters in Muscogee County have cast their ballots early, making their choice for both local and national races. 

Continuing our coverage on the sheriff's race after hearing from the first two challengers, Donna Tompkins and Mark LaJoye, News Leader 9 sat down with both Pam Brown and Muscogee County Sheriff John Darr. 

Brown comes in as the write-in candidate, offering an alternative to the current administration.

Darr, an independent candidate facing opposition on three fronts, took the time to hold his record as proof of his success. 

Brown is no stranger to running against Darr, having lost the race for sheriff in 2012. She criticizes Darr's administration for mishandling the department's budget with lawsuits and hiring the wrong leadership.

"He came in and he picked his own friends that he promoted to these positions," Brown said. "And it's just proven that they could not run the office the way it had been run."

Brown said the first thing she'd do if elected will be to hold an internal audit into the sheriff's office operations and finances.

"I would evaluate every position in that office. Every time we did the budget," Brown said, "there was always money left over in our budget."

Darr cites a list of initiatives that he said have improved safety and quality of life in Muscogee County. 

"Working with at-risk youth, bringing technology to the sheriff's office...working not only here with the local agencies, but federal agencies to make this a safer community," Darr said. 

Darr knows the opponents in this race have levied criticism against him, but he's quick to remind voters about their campaigns' deficiencies.

"These candidates, in my opinion, don't have a platform," Darr said. "They're running against me instead of running for the office. But all I would ask them to do is come up with your platform, come up with what you're going to do enhance the professionalism, enhance the sheriff's office to make it a better place."

Both Darr and Brown cite their decades of experience in law enforcement as reasons voters should pick them. 

These two candidates have had past battles, and not just in an election.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story reported that Brown previously sued Muscogee County Sheriff John Darr for discrimination in 2012. That was not correct. Brown testified in a 2012 federal lawsuit against Darr. You can view that report by clicking here

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