Davis wins GOP sheriff primary by 65 votes

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Hilburn 2nd, Meek 3rd in 6-man contest for job

Gary Davis

Retired FBI Special Agent Gary Davis won the Republican nomination for Barry County sheriff by 65 votes on Tuesday.

Davis finished with 1,565 votes, or 24 percent; former state trooper Travis Hilburn took second with 1,500 votes, or 23 percent; and Barry County Lt. Terry Meek took third with 1,370 votes, or 21 percent. Cassville Police Det. Danny Boyd received 1,207 votes (18 percent), Cassville Officer James Smith got 781 votes (12 percent), and Cassville Officer Justin Fohn received 115 votes (2 percent).

"First off, I would like to thank God for seeing me through this to the next level," Davis said. "I'd also like to thank the voters of Barry County. There was a lot of support for those top three or four guys, and I'm proud of them, and proud of the voters for making me their candidate in the November general.

"I hope to take what I've learned [working at the FBI] and use it to improve Barry County and leave it a better place for our children."

Davis said he was happy the race was clean.

"It was a hard-fought race, and we all campaigned without all the mudslinging like at the state and national levels," he said.

Davis said he attended multiple forums and campaigned some door to door, and he talked to people in area communities he felt were vital to his campaign.

"I talked to who I considered key people in every community," he said. "Barry County is a big area to go knock on doors, especially when you get to the rural areas. I had to depend a lot on neighbors telling neighbors."

Davis said looking ahead to November, he plans to continue getting his face and ideas out to voters.

"I will take next week off, then assess my plan," he said. "I hope some civic groups will put together debates, and the press did a good job giving all candidates their voice in this election and doing a service to voters."

Hilburn said he wishes Davis the best on his venture, but declined to endorse him.

"I hope it all turns out for the good of the county," he said. "I don't necessarily agree with many of Davis' ideas, so I won't put a sticker on him."

Meek said he wanted to thank his supporters for all they did in helping him during the race.

"All I can say is, the people made their choice," he said. "I'm not endorsing anyone."

Boyd said the he accepted the results.

"That's who the people voted in, so that's who they'll have," he said. "I'm happy for Gary. This was a learning experience for me, and I won't do it again."

Smith said he was proud of the clean campaign.

"I made some good friends, and [how the vote turned out] is the way it's going to be," he said. "I won't go into endorsements until later."

Fohn said running was a good learning experience, and he is also not making any endorsement.

"I just want to thank my supporters for everything," he said.

Davis will now face Barry County Deputy Justin Ruark, D-Cassville, in the Nov. 8 general election.

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