© 2024 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
Listen | Discover | Engage a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Klamath County sheriff's race shows one clear leader, with second place up in the air

Headshots of two men. The one on the left has buzzed brown hair and a mustache. The one on the right is wearing a hat that says "Cattle Company", has glasses and a short grey beard & mustache
Shane Mitchell & Brian Bryson
Leading candidates for the Klamath County sheriff Shane Mitchell, left, and Brian Bryson, Right.

Preliminary results from the Klamath County sheriff’s race have shown one clear winner from a crowded seven-person primary. The top two winners will face off in November.

Klamath County Patrol Sergeant Shane Mitchell secured a large portion of the votes, 37.53% as of Tuesday night’s preliminary results. None of the other candidates have received over 15% of the vote so far.

That means Mitchell, who is also an enrolled member of the Klamath Tribes, is the clear first-place winner for the race for Klamath County Sheriff. Seven people were running to replace retiring Sheriff Chris Kaber.

Brian Bryson, an operations captain at the sheriff’s department, holds a narrow second place, with 13.72% of the vote. He’s trailed by just 73 votes by Sergeant Ryan Kaber, the son of the current sheriff.

Because the sheriff’s position is non-partisan, a candidate needs to win over 50% of the vote in the primary to avoid a runoff election in November. That means Mitchell will face one other candidate later this year, which, according to preliminary results, is Bryson.

Retiring Sheriff Chris Kaber was involved in a long fight with county commissioners over ethics and the management of his two sons, who also work at the department.

A complaint filed with the state Government Ethics Commission was dismissed last week after a nearly year-long investigation.

Ballots are still being counted, and finalizing the vote could take until June 17, according to the Klamath County clerk. If a ballot was postmarked by election day, and arrives at the county clerk’s office within seven days of the election, it will still be counted.

Roman Battaglia is a regional reporter for Jefferson Public Radio. After graduating from Oregon State University, Roman came to JPR as part of the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism in 2019. He then joined Delaware Public Media as a Report For America fellow before returning to the JPR newsroom.