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Matthews reelected as sheriff

Posted: June 12, 2014 5:17 p.m.
Updated: June 13, 2014 5:00 a.m.
Haley Atkinson/C-I

Sheriff Jim Matthews (right) gets a kiss from his wife, Heather, after making his reelection acceptance speech at the Robert Mills Courthouse in Camden on Tuesday night. Supporters enjoyed barbecue during the campaign party. Matthews won the election by a more than 2-to-1 margin, 7,653 to 3,047, over challenger David Thomley.

“The citizens have spoken and they’ve spoken quite loudly.”

That’s how Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews characterized his win for reelection with approximately two and a half times the vote count his challenger, David Thomley, received. By the end of Tuesday night, with nearly all precincts counted, Matthews received 7,653 votes to Thomley’s 3,047 votes.

More than 200 campaign workers and supporters crowded into the Robert Mills Courthouse in Camden to celebrate Matthews’ win.

“I’m overwhelmed,” Matthews told the crowd shortly after Thomley conceded via his campaign’s Facebook page. “We were committed to running a clean campaign and didn’t sling mud … the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office has made great strides. I told my officers not to campaign or lobby for me, because if I lost, they’d be without jobs. The best way to campaign is to do your job and do it well. I want to thank my army of volunteers.

“I also want to thank my wife who ran my campaign. She was by my side at all times. We prayed together, never to win, but for patience and humility and to be able to conduct ourselves in a Godly manner. We’ve come a long way and we have a long way to go. Our goal is to be fair. Thank you all.”

Matthews later told the C-I that the goal of the sheriff’s office is to continue to improve and to “provide professional, fair and ethical law enforcement to everybody, regardless of who they are.”

Ralph Strickland, a Matthews supporter who attended the campaign party, said social media helped Tuesday’s outcome.

“The sway of popular opinion via social media definitely played out tonight with the results closely mirroring what we anticipated prior to the primary,” Strickland said.

In Elgin, approximately 75 people gathered at the Bowen House to show their support for Thomley.

Just before conceding, he said he knew it would be a difficult race.

“I’m a blessed man. It’s been a long year and we knew it was going to be a tough battle from the start,” Thomley said. “I respect the voters’ decision and I am thankful that we live in a country where we have the opportunity to vote.”

He said he will not run for sheriff a third time four years from now.

“I am finished with politics; twice is enough,” Thomley said.

In his Facebook concession to Matthews, he added, “It’s time for a vacation.”

Thomley, who served as a captain of investigations at the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office under former Sheriff Steve McCaskill, said he will continue to support deputies and other officers.

“This is my home. I will continue to be supportive of law enforcement and of Sheriff Matthews,” Thomley said.


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