Madison County Sheriff Nelson O'Donnell says he hopes to remain in office despite being defeated in the May primary. O'Donnell has announced his intention to campaign as a write-in candidate in the upcoming general election.
O'Donnell has served one term as sheriff. He was defeated in the primary by Jerry Combs. However, the margin was small. Just 82 votes separated the two. O'Donnell believes he is the best man for the job and has worked hard to "professionalize" the department.
O'Donnell says he believes low voter turnout and a controversial case involving the Richmond Police Department contributed to his loss in the primary. The Richmond case involved sexual assault and tampering with a witness. The officers involved have been relieved of duty. The sheriff's department participated in the investigation at the request of the grand jury. O'Donnell says it was hard to defend his agency during the trial because that would have required revealing grand jury testimony which is illegal.
O'Donnell feels confident about his bid as a write-in candidate and says he wouldn't be campaigning if it weren't for him getting support from his constituents.
"I wouldn't even have considered it but I had such an outcry from Democrats and Republicans that want me to continue," O'Donnel said.
Jerry Combs declined our request for an interview on O'Donnell's write-in campaign.