CEDAR CITY — A recent write-in option for the November sheriff election in Iron County pits incumbent Sheriff Mark O. Gower against Sgt. Dave McIntyre.
In the April 2014 Republican caucus, Gower beat out McIntyre with 72 percent of the votes. Gower continued on to the general election, and McIntyre has had plenty of time to reflect on a system that he said is a disappointment.
“I was a little disheartened with the caucus system in the fact that basically 200 people decide who everyone gets to vote for,” McIntyre said.
The public should be given more of a choice in the election, McIntyre said, and so he announced his candidacy for sheriff on Monday as a write-in ballot option.
There is no law or statute restricting McIntyre from running as a write-in option in this election, Willie Billings, Utah Republican Party state vice chair, said. As long as he does not use the Republican name or symbol, McIntyre is free to run for the office.
The law allows a person to be a write-in candidate for the same office they have run in previously that year, Justin Lee, deputy director of elections at the Lt. Governor’s Office, said. What it does not allow is becoming a write-in candidate for a different office than the one they previously ran in; meaning McIntyre would not be able to run for positions such as county clerk or commissioner.
McIntyre and Gower both started their careers in law enforcement around the same time, McIntyre said, and have many similar belief systems and philosophies. The difference between them is how they conduct themselves in leadership positions.
In his previous position as a drug task force commander, McIntyre said, he found ways to make changes and sufficiently manage his team, while making effective use of public money.
“That’s more my style I think,” he said, “is to get the most out of every dollar that we’re going to use.”
With recent happenings throughout the country, McIntyre foresees changes coming for law enforcement. These changes are going to require a person willing to step up and make sure all sides are heard, he said, something he is up for.
“I want to be a part of that discussion on what we’re doing,” he said.
If elected, McIntyre said, he would not be worried how the current Iron County Sheriff’s deputies will receive him. He has worked with many of them over the years, he said, and he is confident they would work together to effectively make positive advances in the community.
Currently, McIntyre does not have any immediate plans to change the command staff at the sheriff’s office. Instead, he said, he would like to meet with each person individually to better understand their skills and potential. This could mean keeping some of the staff in their current positions or moving them to other positions in which he thinks they would be most effective.
“If it’s up to me to appoint somebody …, I think the first place a sheriff ought to look is within the department,” he said. “Those guys have been there for a while and they know what’s going on.”
With November elections coming up, McIntyre said, he knows he does not have much time to prepare and plans on working towards getting the word out about his campaign. There will be opportunities while he is still on active duty that will allow him to answer questions from the public regarding his campaign.
Sheriff Mark Gower has been invited to comment on his own campaign and his challenger. On Tuesday, at his office, he said he was too busy and unable to talk. The invitation to him remains open and any response received will be reported separately.
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