Retired Major of Operations Charles Blackwood will likely become Orange County’s next sheriff after winning Tuesday’s runoff election against David Caldwell.
In the May primary, Blackwood came out just 64 votes ahead of David Caldwell in a six-way race, but failed to garner more than 40 percent of the vote, prompting Caldwell to call for a runoff.
This time around, he garnered 53.44 percent, or 4,193. Caldwell brought in 46.65 percent, with 3,653 votes. Voter turnout for the runoff was 9.23 percent, with 8,413 ballots cast.
Blackwood said his first step will be reaching out to those in Orange County who didn’t support him.
“There’s a tremendous amount of people that did not vote for me, and it’s time to build bridges, reach out to those people, gain their respect and their trust, and I plan to start doing that the moment I take office,” said Blackwood.
This campaign will go down as one of the most expensive in recent memory. Blackwood raised $43,800 and spent $37,700. Caldwell raised $9200 and spent all but $700.
Despite the hotly contested race, Caldwell said the mood between the candidates was collegial and he congratulated his opponent on the win.
“Outstanding gentleman, I’ve known Charles for a long, long time,” said Caldwell. “I know he’s going to give 100 percent to the job. I wish him all the luck in the world.”
Blackwood is now the Democratic nominee for Orange County Sheriff, but with no Republicans on the ballot in the general election, he’s likely to take the job of top lawman in November. He’ll take the place of Lindy Pendergrass, who is retiring as sheriff after serving 32 years.