Epperly endorses Meek for sheriff

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Mick Epperly on Monday told the Cassville Democrat that he supports Deputy Terry Meek, R-Washburn, in his bid to replace him as Barry County sheriff.

Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly, left, and Deputy Terry Meek

Epperly said he took the decision to endorse seriously, and believes he has made the right choice.

"I get asked every day who I support in the sheriff's race," he said. "I like a lot of the candidates, but I'm looking for someone who works in the operation and shouldn't be backing up and losing any time and should be able to continue the work."

Epperly announced his decision not the seek re-election in February after serving for 20 years. Since then, seven candidates -- six Republicans and one Democrat -- have filed to take his place. Meek is the only Republican who currently works at the sheriff's office.

Meek has worked at the sheriff's office for 13-1/2 years, starting as a correctional officer and eventually working his way up to detective.

"He's an honest man. He's really good at investigations," Epperly said. "He's the main detective in children's cases and other big cases. Terry has been assigned to children's sex crimes he's done really well there. He would be a good man for the job."

Meek said he is honored to receive Epperly's endorsement.

"I'm thrilled. I wasn't expecting it," Meek said. "He's been a great boss and I'm honored that he trusts me to take on this task."

The six opponents Meek will face in the Aug. 2 Republican primary are former highway patrolman Travis Hilburn of Cassville, Cassville officer Danny Boyd of Purdy, Cassville officer James A. Smith of Aurora, Cassville officer Justin Fohn of Cassville, and former FBI agent Gary Davis of Cassville. The Republican nominee will face Justin Ruark, D-Cassville, in the November general election.

A recent scientific opinion poll commissioned by the Cassville Democrat showed Meek in fourth place in the sheriff's race at 9 percent. Hilburn led outside the margin of error at 18 percent, Davis had 14 percent, Boyd had 13 percent, Smith had 8 percent and Fohn had 1 percent. Thirty-seven percent of responders said they were undecided.

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