Which ticket will county voters choose?

Published 11:25 am Monday, May 31, 2010

Butler County voters are going to have to make a decision even before they hit the polls on Tuesday.

Vote Republican, where Greenville businessman Tim James is a leading candidate to become that party’s gubernatorial nominee, or Democrat, where the ballot is short on names, but long on local importance: the race for sheriff of Butler County is a Democrat-only ticket.

Probate Judge Steve Norman said he spent this week educating poll workers of a situation that could arise at some point in Tuesday’s primary: Someone’s going to want to vote for sheriff and for a Republican nominee for governor, be it James or Bradley Byrne or even Roy Moore.

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“I can understand the frustration,” said Norman. “We’ll have signs at the polling places and the poll workers are aware. But people need to understand this is an election for the parties to determine who is going to be on the ballot in November for the general election.”

No doubt there’s plenty more happening on the Republican ballot, a total of 12 races (all state) to five for the Democrats (both ballots include the local 12-mill school tax renewal).

However, last on the ballot for the Democrats is the sheriff’s election where both Danny Bond and James Moorer are challenging incumbent Kenny Harden.

“I think the people are going to go with the most important,” said John Andrews, chairman of the county’s Democratic party. “And I think it’s going to be the sheriff’s race. People are going to vote in the sheriff’s race because that’s their local race. But there are going to be some people that are not going to understand why they can’t vote both ways.”

Andrews’ counterpart with the county’s Republican Party differs. Cleve Poole said he believed candidates who run as Democrats at the local level have chosen to associate themselves with the policies of that party on a national level.

Voters, he said, must be true to their own individual philosophies about government.

“What’s going to have more of an effect on your life in general,” said Poole. “The governor can make wide-sweeping changes that effects your life, while the sheriff’s job is to, more or less, enforce the law. The sheriff sets no policy and whoever the sheriff is will enforce that law.”

Aside from James, Byrne and Moore, Robert Bentley, Bill Johnson, James Potts and Charles Taylor are the other GOP candidates for governor.

Artur Davis and Ron Sparks are the Democratic candidates.

Polls open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

Follow live election updates at www.greenvilleadvocate.com on Tuesday night.