Benton County Republican Party ranks Sheriff candidates, keeps order private

Benton County Republican Party ranks Sheriff candidates, keeps order private

The Benton County Republican Party ranked the three candidates for Sheriff, but declined to share that ranking with the public.

At Thursday night’s meeting all three candidates made a quick speech before voting members ranked them behind closed doors.

When the public was allowed back in the meeting, group leaders decided to not share the ranked order of the candidates. Although one member was upset with the decision, all others voted to keep the order a secret.

The three candidates are acting Sheriff Jerry Hatcher, Kennewick Police Department Sergeant Ken Lattin, and Benton County Sheriff’s Detective Sergeant Bob Brockman.

Chair of the Nominating Committee, Jerry Martin, said the order will be emailed to the Benton County Commissioners in the next 24 hours.

The commissioners will then pick a new Sheriff, considering the ranking from the Benton County Republican Party.

But the commissioner’s choice may only be Sheriff for a few months.

“The community, the citizens of Benton County ultimately have the voters’ choice,” said Commissioner Shon Small…”they can turn around and pick ‘John Doe’ at the end of November, and that right there will truly decide who’s going to be the sheriff.”

If more than two candidates decide to run for the position during the election, there will be a primary election in August to narrow the choices down to two.

This process comes after former Sheriff Steve Keane retired from the office in April. Small said because Keane was from the Republican Party, it is now the party’s responsibility to fill the position in the coming months.