Downballot Parade: The sheriff is a’ near

Itasca County Sheriff

I know you have your own ridiculous local sheriff’s race to worry about and, really, that’s the point of me writing about mine. Here in Itasca County on the western Mesabi Range where I live, home to 1,000 of Minnesota’s “10,000 lakes,” we’ll have a new sheriff in January. Current Sheriff Pat Medure is retiring and will be replaced either by the Deer River Police Chief Victor Williams or Sheriff’s Department investigator Dean Scherf.

I did some political work for another candidate, Darin Shevich, who dropped out before the August primary for personal reasons. For this reason I’ve been exposed to the drama, DRAMA, of a county sheriff’s race. Medure and a lot of the county higher-ups are backing Scherf. Several officials and leaders from surrounding towns are backing Williams. And … blah blah blah.

The landscape of our scenic county is caked, CAKED, with yellow Scherf signs and blue Williams signs. And as a voter I know that the outcome matters, MATTERS A GREAT DEAL! But the amount of attention focused on this sheriff’s race dwarfs anything seen in the county commissioner races, where funds for the actual multi-million dollar county budget will be allocated, including the sheriff’s department budget. I can’t even properly guess who’s going to win those races because few people are even talking about them. There are more combined signs for the Itasca sheriff’s race than all other races combined, including governor, Congress and houses that are for sale or sold.

Why is there so much attention on the sheriff’s race when, in context, it’s just not as important as many of the other races? Is it because, subconsciously, people want to drive drunk and get away with it because they had a sign supporting the sheriff? Or at least speed with impunity? No one will own up to that, but I say prove otherwise! And don’t you dare lecture me about how much this all matters. I know how much it matters. I’ve seen the signs.

I know, OK!

By all means, tell me about the very important sheriff’s race in your county.


  1. Thanks Aaron….for the great feedback.

  2. Sure, Cyndy, though you know this was a bit tongue in cheek. 🙂

  3. Yes,the Itasca County Sheriff’s race has been ridiculous, due in a large part to the continual stirring of the pot by the disgruntled Shevich supporters.
    Mr. Shevich came to my door early on, and I also attended the forum at the Blandin Foundation. On both occasions, his responses were evasive,and very short on details. I was underwhelmed, to say the least.
    It was quite apparent he was not qualified to be in an administrative /supervisory position,and his smarmy withdrawal announcement in the GR newspaper,filled with innuendo and and unsubstantiated allegations,only confirmed my views.
    However, nothing has deterred his supporters from continuing to interfere in the race between the two remaining candidates.
    To my knowledge,almost every LTE supporting Vic Williams has been written by former Shevich supporters,who seem to think the primary qualification for Sheriff is someone who is “approachable”,disregarding the enormous gap in experience between the chief of a not quite 4 man PD in a community of less than 1000, and someone who has been the investigator/supervisor of a large county law enforcement agency for the past 16 years.
    Your comments may well be tongue in cheek as you stated, but I suggest you read the Herald -Review Voter’s Guide,available yesterday. Commissioner Lori Dowling thinks the Sheriff’s race is the most important issue in itasca county, in contrast to all the other commissioner candidates, who did state the economy was primary.
    Does she read your blog? Apparently not !

  4. This very conversation is exactly what I’m talking about. So much drama, highly interpersonal, only vaguely connected to the day to day of the sheriffs department or policy matters. I reject that years of experience are the sole factor in a race like this. I don’t know Scherf or Williams, only met Shevich a few times before the primary. Shevich is no longer running. I just know that I see the letters, I see the Facebook traffic, and it’s all just so disconnected from the discussion of how the department will be run, a matter that is important. This is a popularity contest conducted in a small, tightly connected county. I’m not getting into this any more. It’s not my fight. My post is about how tiresome I find this race to be in comparison to some other very important races that are not discussed with nearly the same fervor.

  5. Wow, Aaron, you wrote the blog to begin with. It appears you received a response you did not like. Actually one candidate has talked about how the department will be run and that candidate has presented a goals and objectives statement. It is the candidate with the most experience. Dean Scherf. It I was going to be interviewing both of the men running, I would definitely be looking at experience. This is sensible. It is the same way I see Oberstar. He is experienced and I would not toss the baby out with the bath water based on some pretty boy popularity contest.
    The sign wars started with the candidate who dropped out. One could suspect he was getting assistance and support from his mother’s boyfriend, Tom Anzelc. Not a big deal to me, seems understandable. Why is this race being discussed? Pay attention Aaron. There has not been a sheriff’s race in 16-years. That is why this race is being discussed. And the candidate who dropped out placed a large ad that started the negativity from the go. Sour grapes, spoiled apples, call it what you want – it was the ad that set the tide for this race in my opinion. Too bad. Both candidates running are very affable and while I am voting for Scherf, I too, like Williams.

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