Enough ado: let's look at the numbers!
Jason R. Lurz
Roger C. Hartman
A tie between the challengers! I thought that Madison City Patrolmen Lurz and Wyatt might split the anti-incumbent sentiment and leave incumbent Sheriff Hartman room to squeak by with a slim plurality of folks satisfied with the status quo. Not so in this poll: both challengers appear to have strong voter bases.
But get out your grains of salt. This online poll indicates first and foremost that supporters of Lurz and Wyatt are paying attention to the Web. Sheriff Hartman represents the older generation: he has no campaign website, and his base probably doesn't fuss with the Internet much, either. Hartman has voters; they just aren't reading the Madville Times (but they should be!).
Still, Lake County's Internet users are not some fringe minority (well, I am, but not all of you are!). The strong showing for Lurz and Wyatt indicate a large number of voters who want a new man at the helm of county law enforcement. Hartman has been sheriff for twelve years. He told voters in 2006 that this would be his last term; the Madison Daily Leader called it his final term when he won the 2006 Republican primary against Wyatt. The above poll suggests that a lot of voters are ready to hold Sheriff Hartman to his word.
I haven't heard much in terms of actual policy that explains why folks might want a change. I don't have many reasons in that direction: the Lake County Sheriff's Department has responded with due alacrity when I've called for help. But the current sheriff did indicate previously that he didn't want the job beyond 2010. Officers Wyatt and Lurz have also been dutiful and conscientious law enforcement officers for the City of Madison. I have confidence that either challenger could effectively and fairly protect and serve the people of Lake County.
I look forward to further public comment from the candidates and their supporters on the future direction of law enforcement in our county. Voters, feel free to hit the comment section with your observations on who's the best man for Lake County Sheriff.