Chief Deputy Michael A. McDonald is Stark County’s new sheriff. McDonald, currently a chief deputy for the Stark County Sheriff’s office, watched the results with roughly 100 of his supporters, including Sheriff Timothy A. Swanson, at the VFW 3747 in Canton.
Chief Deputy Michael A. McDonald is Stark County’s new sheriff.
As of 1 a.m. Wednesday, McDonald, a Democrat, was holding onto his lead over Republican Lawrence A. Dordea by 5,602 votes — 84,942 to Dordea’s 79,340. The unofficial result doesn’t include paper ballots cast on Tuesday, some absentees ballots and provisional ballots.
McDonald, currently a chief deputy for the Stark County Sheriff’s office, watched the results with roughly 100 of his supporters, including Sheriff Timothy A. Swanson, at the VFW 3747 in Canton.
“I’m just so excited. It’s something I always wanted to do,” McDonald said. “I’ve held every rank in the sheriff’s office, and now I really will hold every rank.”
He had taken the early lead, peaking at 67 percent of the vote — the majority of them were absentee or early voters — but saw his lead begin to shrink as more precincts were counted. By 11:30 p.m., McDonald led by only 4 percentage points.
Dordea, an Alliance councilman and Hartville police chief, waited anxiously surrounded by his supporters at Don Panchos in Alliance as they watched the election results come in on their laptops, cellphones and tablets.
Dordea hoped the votes would shift in his favor as more results came in, but said he still would be happy remaining as Hartville’s chief. He noted that no Republican had won the sheriff’s office since 1981.
Amy Miller of Canton voted for McDonald because he already knows the sheriff’s operations.
“I think McDonald knows the system. (Sheriff Tim Swanson) has done a great job of keeping the jail afloat (and working with the budget) to bring employees back. ... I think bringing someone new would upset that balance.”
If McDonald keeps the lead, he will succeed Swanson, who chose not to seek re-election to the post he’s held since 1999, and take over a $16 million, 200-employee operation that has been battered by recent budget cuts and still will be recovering from the 2010 layoff of 41 employees and the shuttering of more than one-third of the jail.
Despite the sales tax that voters passed last November for criminal justice services, the new sheriff still must operate the department on one of the lowest operating budgets since the jail expanded in 2006.