One day after Catoosa witnessed a better-than-average voter turnout at 23 percent, candidates Larry Black and Gary Sisk will again hit the campaign trail.
Black, a former drug task force commander, and Sisk, a longtime Catoosa County chief deputy, both say that they are prepared for the grind that lies ahead.
“We realize that we have a lot more work to do, and we already have a campaign meeting scheduled this morning to discuss our plans and goals for the next three weeks,” Black said Wednesday.
“We’ve set a course, and now we just have to focus on continuing to execute our game plan,” Sisk said about his campaign for the next three weeks. “We’re going to stick to our methods, give citizens the opportunity to get to know me a little better, and hopefully we can get voters back to the polls later this month.
“We’re going to analyze the data and determine where our weaker areas were during the primary and work hard to pick up votes in those areas throughout the county,” Sisk said.
The Aug. 21 runoff is a result of neither candidate accumulating more than 50 percent of the votes.
Black garnered the highest total with 3,808 votes, followed by Sisk with 1,956. Catoosa County manager Mike Helton finished in third with 1,361, followed by Fort Oglethorpe police officer Jeff Holcomb with 1,226, and retired Drug Enforcement Administration agent Ben Scott with 405.
Meanwhile, another sheriff hopeful — Lt. Mark Cruise with the Fort Oglethorpe Police Department — wants to get placed on the Nov. 6 general election ballot as an independent candidate. If this happens, the winner of the Aug. 21 runoff would face Cruise in November.
No Democrats are seeking the sheriff's post.
Black and Sisk will engage in a forum as part of a Republican Party meeting on Monday, Aug. 13, at 6:30 p.m., which will take place at the Boynton precinct voting site at 4057 Boynton Drive in Ringgold.
Whose will endorse whom?
Helton declined to endorse either of the remaining candidates, due to conflict of interest as Catoosa County manager.
“Professionally it would be inappropriate,” Helton said.
Likewise, fifth-place finisher Ben Scott also said he has not thrown his support to either direction.
“I have not decided to throw my support to either candidate at this time,” Scott said. “I am tickled to death to have been a part of this process and it has been a great experience.”
Holcomb, on the other hand, said he would now endorse Sisk.
“I talked with Gary last night and I told him that I plan to throw all of my support to him,” Holcomb said. “Aside from myself of course, I feel that Gary is the best man for the job, and I believe that him taking over for Phil (Summers) would be a transition that would take place without any disruption to the department. I hope that all the citizens who voted for me will vote for him in the runoff.”
Sheriff Phil Summers is not seeking re-election.