Jackson County Sheriff Announces Retirement, Endorses Opponent
The race for Jackson County sheriff just got a little more interesting.
In an exclusive interview with Medford television station KDRV, three-term incumbent Mike Winters says he'll step down when his term ends on Dec. 31. And, he says, he's endorsing his challenger, Ashland Police Department Deputy Chief Corey Falls.
According to KDRV.com, Winters said in a statement, “I’m confident that the transition to my successor will be straightforward because of the systems that are currently in place. Therefore I fully endorse and support our new sheriff, Corey Falls, and will be at his disposal for any guidance if necessary.”
Reached by phone Thursday afternoon, Falls told JPR he hadn't spoken to Winters and had no advance warning of the sheriff's intentions.
"My first thought was, we're still going to both be on the ballot, and as long as both names are on the ballot, it's still a sheriff's race," Falls said.
He added, "It's nice that the sheriff has endorsed me."
Nonetheless, Falls said, "We're going to continue on with what our team has done, with our side of the campaign and wait until the votes are finished on November 4 to get real excited about anything."
Despite his announcement, Winters' withdrawal came too late to remove his name from the ballots to be mailed out to county voters on Oct. 17, and he will still appear in the official voters information pamphlet.
In the primary election last May, Falls outpolled Winters with more than 45 percent of the vote to Winters' 30 percent. Now-former sheriff's deputy Bob Sergi got 24 percent of the vote and was eliminated from the general election.