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Government & Politics
2020 is looking to be a pivotal year in politics. But this year's elections are about much more than the race for the White House. And the coronavirus pandemic is proving to be a complicating factor. WKSU, our colleagues at public radio stations across Ohio and the region and at NPR will bring you coverage of all the races from the national to the local level.

Fatheree Elected Summit County Sheriff, First Woman to Hold the Job

Kandy Fatheree.jpg
Kandy Fatheree has been elected Summit County sheriff. She will be the first woman to hold the job.

For the first time, a woman will serve as Summit County sheriff.

More than 52 percent of voters chose Kandy Fatheree for the job over Republican Shane Barker.

Fatheree has been with the Sheriff’s Department for 25 years and currently serves as a captain.

With nearly all precincts reporting, Charmaine McGuffey has overcome Republican challenger Bruce Hoffbauer to become Hamilton County's first woman and openly LGBTQ sheriff, making her the highest-ranking woman in the history of the office.

Voter Leighann Combs, who cast her ballot at South Akron United Methodist Church Tuesday, is glad to see a woman get the job. “I think, you know, us women have to stick together and put more women into those executive decisions.”

Fatheree says she hopes to improve the department with a program of continual training in de-escalation techniques and leadership skills.

“One of the other things is: I am dedicated to diversity and inclusion. Having hiring, training, and promoting – the entire process -- be fair and equitable.”

Fatheree adds that she also hopes to work with community organizations to help people who have been arrested and are suffering from mental illness or substance abuse issues.

She will replace Steve Barry, who’s retiring after serving two terms. Barry is also a Democrat but had endorsed the Republican Barker to replace him.

In Portage County, Sheriff David Doak did not seek re-election. Republican Bruce Zuchowski beat Greg Johnson and will become the next sheriff there.

And Cuyahoga County will soon have a new sheriff, too. This week, Sheriff David Schilling announced he's retiring for health reasons after just 15 months on the job — effective December 31. Last year, Cuyahoga County voters approved a measure giving County Council the power to confirm the county executive's appointment to sheriff.