The absentee votes have been tallied and an official winner has been declared in the Cortland County Sheriff’s race.
Democrat Mark Helms will be Cortland County’s next Sheriff. Helms had led the race on election night by 277 votes.
He beat Republican challenger Herb Barnhart by 260 votes after the absentee ballots were tallied this morning. Helms received 3883 votes to Barnhart’s 3620 votes. Conservative candidate Rich Berry received 509 votes including absentees.
Helms, who currently serves as the Homer Village Police Chief, says he looks forward to his new role as the county sheriff and plans to work with Village Mayor Gen Suits and the Village Board to find his replacement and plan a smooth transition.
Helms will take over the sheriff’s office as the county begins planning for a new jail. The current jail needs over 2 million in repairs and a new jail could cost up to $40 million dollars. Helms says he will work with the legislature to develop the best solution for the jail issue
The newsroom asked who Helms would appoint as his Undersheriff. He said he has a couple of candidates in mind for the position but would not disclose who they are. Helms said he would not consider keeping current Undersheriff Herb Barnhart on in that role.
Helms takes office on January 1st. He replaces Democrat Lee Price who has held the job for the last 15 years.