Sheriff candidate Steven Shaver of Parrish, who came in third in Tuesday's Republican primary balloting, said Friday that he is endorsing vote leader Nick Smith over Sheriff Jim Underwood. It is …
Sheriff candidate Steven Shaver of Parrish, who came in third in Tuesday's Republican primary balloting, said Friday that he is endorsing vote leader Nick Smith over Sheriff Jim Underwood.
It is still uncertain if a runoff will be needed as provisional votes in the race have to be counted Tuesday. Unofficial total in the race show Smith had 7,258, or 49.97 percent of the votes, while Underwood had 6,617 votes, or 45.56 percent. Shaver had 649 votes or 4.47 percent. To avoid having a runoff on July 17, the winner must have 50 percent of the vote plus 1 vote, although the math will be determined by how many of the 35 provisional votes are allowed.
Shaver, the director of community corrections in the county, was asked Friday afternoon about rumors that started circulating about his support Thursday night, which resulted in calls to the Daily Mountain Eagle.
"I would like to support Nick Smith," Shaver said. "I believe Jim has had his chance and didn't accomplish what the citizens of Walker County needed. I think we need to give Nick a try and see if he can."
Asked if he thinks Smith can do a good job, Shaver said, "I'm hoping he can, yes."
Shaver, asked where Underwood had missed his chances said, "Well, one of course is the budget. He hasn't done well with the budget, so let's see if Nick can."
Another item was when Underwood brought up issues about the Walker County Jail when he ran four years ago, he said. "My understanding most of it still hasn't been fixed," he said. It is not only a safety issue for the officers who work there, it is a safety issue for the inmates."
He said the budgets and and the needs at the jail go hand-in-hand, as repairs will cost money. "Of course, the budget is tight. That is going to be like getting blood out of a turnip," he said.
However, he said whether the sheriff in the next term is Underwood or Smith, "if they put their mind to it, it can be done."
As for a statement to his supporters, Shaver said, "I appreciate the people who supported me." He said the election did not turn out the way he wanted, but he noted he was not a politician."
"I've always been a police officer and I always will," he said. "I didn't take time off from my job to go door-to-door, and that was probably my big downfall. I was at work every day. I appreciate people supporting me. I really, truly do."
Underwood said he had no comment about the announcement.