Archive for Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Barring write-in Zoellner wins sheriff’s post

August 11, 2004

Because politics are not his "cup of tea," Leavenworth County undersheriff Dave Zoellner said he didn't have any grand blueprint for his campaign to become the county's next sheriff.

"I just tried to run my campaign the most professional and positive way I thought to do it," Zoellner said. "I felt I ran a straight and narrow campaign."

Apparently it was enough.

Zoellner, a 36-year veteran of the sheriff's department, defeated the only challenger for the office, former Leavenworth police officer Gene Tomrell, during last week's primary election.

Zoellner received 2,710 votes Aug. 3 and earned another 38 votes after Friday's official vote canvass. Tomrell received 1,160 votes and an additional 28 votes following the canvass.

"I'm sincerely appreciative of the voters and of them putting their faith in me," Zoellner said.

Zoellner won the Democratic Party's nomination to his office; as there were no Republican candidates, barring another candidate entering the race via a write-in campaign,

Zoellner will secure the sheriff's position after the general election Nov. 2. He would assume office Jan. 10.

Although the path ahead appears clear of roadblocks, Zoellner said he's not taking anything for granted.

"My position in Leavenworth County is undersheriff," Zoellner said. "It will remain that until January 10.

"I will continue that until such time as I can take the office of sheriff."

Zoellner, like Tomrell, is a Leavenworth resident. He and his opponent are both law enforcement veterans and graduates of Leavenworth High School. They're also friends, Zoellner said.

"I haven't talked to him yet but I consider us friends and we'll probably remain friends," Zoellner said.

Zoellner has served the sheriff's department since 1968, when he began work as a deputy.

Since then, he has worked in various capacities for the department including the jail, communications, patrol, investigations and administration.

Zoellner has worked under three different Leavenworth County sheriffs, was promoted to the rank of major in 1999 and is currently the second-highest-ranking officer in the department.

Herb Nye, the current sheriff, endorsed Zoellner as his replacement.

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