Wyatt, currently a patrolman for the Madison Police Department, identifies himself as a Republican, a Christian Conservative, and a member of the local 9-12 Glenn Beck fan club. I get a little itchy when I hear any political candidate touting his piety. More importantly, given that the 9-12ers support nullification and secession, I will need to hear Dan affirm that as a law enforcement officer he will reject Calhoun conservatism and recognize the primacy of federal law over state law.
But why would this Republican run as an Independent? Wyatt likely wants to broaden the electorate and avoid what happened last time he challenged incumbent Roger Hartman for the job. In 2006, Wyatt ran as a Republican and was defeated by Hartman in the Republican primary. Since no Democrat filed for the job, the Republicans had sole say on who became sheriff. This disenfranchisement of local Democrats and Independents bothered a lot of people. It certainly made me see the harm in not designating sheriff and perhaps other local government positions as non-partisan.
Instead of once again allowing just 45% of the Lake County electorate pick the sheriff, Wyatt has more than doubled the number of people who get to vote on our county's top cop, just by filing as an Independent.
That desire for more public participation also figures in Wyatt's campaign promises for a new style of sheriffing:
My campaign is simply one of positive change in the way the Sheriff’s office conducts business... I will be a visible, out in the public eye, working Sheriff. You will see me out in the communities of Lake County. I will seek your input, your suggestions and you can always expect a honest answer if you have a question. I ask that you invite me to your organizational meetings, your township meetings and if you want contact me, we can set something up [Dan Wyatt, campaign website].
Wyatt also appears ready to throw punches in this local race:
Currently the office is held by an incumbent who has lost his ambition to do all that he can for the office and the residents of Lake County. He has publically stated twice before that he was not seeking the Sheriff office again... and then changed his mind.. I point this out because sometimes the old way of doing business is not always the best way. This is especially true in the business of Law Enforcement. It is time for a change [Dan Wyatt, campaign website].
Looks like we're in for an interesting discussion of the future of law enforcement in Lake County... a conversation that, this time around, will last to November and involve all Lake County voters.