Lee County Sheriff Reggie Rachals supporters line U.S. Highway 19 in Lee County and wave to motorists Tuesday afternoon. Rachals will serve a second term after his victory in Tuesday’s election.
LEESBURG — Lee County Sheriff Reggie Rachals said he earned his second term in office Tuesday by sticking to the issues and running on his record.
In unofficial returns, Rachals had secured 68 percent of the vote in the race, outpolling former Deputy David Cheshire 3,437-1,637. Those totals do not reflect the ballots in the county’s Redbone District, which had not been reported by 9:55 p.m.
“I think this race clearly showed that the people of Lee County were not interested in the negative campaigning of my opponent,” Rachals said after building what appeared to be an insurmountable lead in his quest for a second term in office. “I think it also shows that they approve of the job we’ve done.
“We’re extremely happy and thankful to the people of the county, and I have nothing but praise for the volunteers who worked so hard to help me win this election. Now we just have to keep improving; I look forward to four more years of working to make the sheriff’s office better.”
Cheshire, who had served in the Lee Sheriff’s Office for eight years before resigning his position on Dec. 1 of last year to run against Rachals, also praised the volunteers who helped him get his message to the people.
“My wife told me in the last few days of the campaign if she’d known it would be like this, she never would have said yes when I told her I wanted to run,” Cheshire said. “We’ve been at it for eight months now, and it’s been a long eight months, but I’d do it again. I’d do it again because I met a lot of people I would not otherwise have met who became close friends.
“I’ll go back to work on Monday; I’ll be OK. What I’ll be disappointed about is there were a lot of good, hard-working people who were counting on me to help bring about change in Lee County.”
Rachals grabbed a big 907-409 lead when early and absentee ballots were counted immediately after polls closed at 7 p.m., and he maintained that advantage as precinct reports trickled in.
“This race was always about providing the best public safety for the people of Lee County,” Rachals said. “That’s what we ran the race on, and by sticking to the high road we showed the people that we were listening to them.
“I’m humbled by this overwhelming show of support.”