BULLITT COUNTY, KY (WAVE) - The race for Bullitt County Sheriff had eight republican candidates on the ballot. In the end, lawyer Walt Sholar came out on top, but it was a tight race.
The top three candidates were separated by just 265 votes.
Sholar said he spent 25 years as a prosecutor and promised higher professional standards at the sheriff's office. For candidates in the primary, months of work came down to Tuesday.
Leading up to the election, Sholar had been campaigning in hopes of making the sound of applause the noise heard from his office after the polls closed.
"We tried to get the message across to the people that it's time to move the sheriffs office to a higher level of professionalism," Sholar said.
That message ended up being the winning one, reaching 26.25 percent of voters in Bullitt County, who had a tough choice to make between the eight republican candidates in the race for sheriff.
"Sometimes the candidates have come out to us," voter Grace McChesney said. "Some of them have helped out in the community."
Two others, George Thurman and Mike Cook, both sheriff's office employees, also scored more than 20 percent of the vote, making the race tight.
Sholar said his plan is to bring change to the sheriff's office by accrediting the agency, instituting community policing policies, fighting the opioid crisis with the Angel Initiative, and improving school safety.
"We're going to begin meeting national standards and bringing them to bear," Sholar said. "We're going to try to see to it that we get a handle on the budget and improve the pay."
Those are all visions that Sholar said he will only be able to put into action if he pulls off another win in November.
Sholar will face democratic candidate Myra Minton in the general election. He said he plans to emphasize his conservative Christian values during that race.