Corey Falls has a large lead in the race for sheriff of Jackson County and is within reach of winning the election tonight, an early vote count suggests.
The early numbers released at 8 p.m. by the Jackson County Elections Office have Falls leading incumbent Mike Winters by 6,919 votes, with Bob Sergi a further 2,738 votes behind Winters.
Currently, Falls has 19,196 votes — 46.7 percent — in his favor, to Winters' 12,277 — 29.8 percent — and Sergi's 9,539 — 23.2 percent.
If one man garners 50 percent of the vote plus one, he'll run unopposed in the November general election. Otherwise, the top two vote-getters will run against each other in the general election.
Winters, 56, has 29 years of law enforcement experience between Ashland Police Department, Oregon State Police and Jackson County Sheriff's Department.
Winters has not return phone messages seeking comment.
Sergi, 58, a sheriff's lieutenant, has 34 years of law enforcement experience between police departments in Long Beach, Calif., and Medford and the Jackson County Sheriff's Department.
Sergi and a group of his campaign volunteers and supporters are gathered at Bobbio's Pizza in Central Point watching election results, he said.
Corey Falls, 41, deputy chief of the Ashland Police Department, has 17 years of law experience between Washington's city of Bothell Police Department, Washington's Snohomish County Sheriff's Office and Ashland Police Department
Falls is watching election results from home with his family and a few campaign committee members, he said.
— Sam Wheeler