Nelson defeats Blackstone, elected new Chambers County sheriff

Published 11:50 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2022

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Republican Candidate Jeff Nelson has been elected the new Chambers County sheriff. 

Nelson received 6,125 votes, or 69% of the vote, compared to challenger Jeff Blackstone’s 2,975 votes, or 31%. Nelson will replace longtime sheriff Sid Lockhart, who is retiring. 

“I’m happy that the citizens of Chambers County supported me and trust in me enough to give me this vote,” Nelson said. “I promise everyone I won’t let you down. We will take care of this county and continue to take care of this county. I’m just so thankful for the votes and the support and all the people that have gotten out and helped us during the campaign.”

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As the new sheriff, Nelson has plans to assess the structure of the sheriff’s department. Nelson said he would like to make changes to certain positions in the department. However, overall, he said that the department is in good shape thanks to Lockhart.

“For the most part, I don’t really have to reinvent the wheel. I just have to realign it. Sid has done an outstanding job as sheriff,” Nelson said. “I feel just a little tweak and a little realignment, and we can get this county on the track that I feel it needs to be on and then carry forward from there.”

Nelson praised the retiring sheriff for his dedication and outstanding work over the past 28 years. Looking ahead, he said that he wants to focus on giving Lockhart the proper goodbye with the respect that he deserves.

“Right now, I want to focus a little bit more on Sheriff Lockhart,” Nelson said. “We’re losing a great man that has been dedicating his life to this county for almost 30 years. He deserves to go out with the most respect and dignity that he can. And I want to build from that.”

Nelson also thanked Blackstone for running a clean race throughout the past year. He also said that individuals running for office can take the sheriff’s race as an example of a clean, fair race.

“I just want to tell Jeff Blackstone how much I appreciate him for running a clean race,” Nelson said. “I think other people that run for office can use the way this was done as an example to get out there and sell yourself without badmouthing another individual or any of the shady or dirty things that go on in politics.”

Blackstone agreed with Nelson, thanking him for playing fair. He said that he was glad that the race didn’t get in the way of their longstanding friendship.

“We kept this race clean,” Blackstone said. “I spoke with him today earlier, and I thanked him for doing his part. We’ve been friends too long for something like this to come between us.”

Blackstone said that he believes Nelson will do a good job as sheriff and that he hopes that he will continue the good work that Lockhart has been doing.

“As far as I’m concerned, we will have a good sheriff,” Blackstone said. “I hope we keep some of the same policies as our current sheriff has. I do believe Jeff will be good for us as far as keeping those policies and keeping the things in place like they are.”

According to Nelson, next steps include getting acclimated to what Lockhart does behind the scenes for the county, such as being involved in fundraisers.

“Sheriff Lockhart and I have talked,” Nelson said. “Whoever wins he’s gonna bring them up to the sheriff’s office and start acclimating them and get them used to the processes, some of the secrets and things that Sheriff Lockhart did behind the scenes to take care of the public. A lot of the fundraisers and things that he does that nobody knows about.”