Updated: Nov 7, 2012 12:50 AM
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Lawrence Stelma, the longtime Kent County sheriff who in August was planning to retire, was re-elected Tuesday night.
He defeated former Grand Rapids Deputy Police Chief
James Farris and John Stedman, an insurance executive with no law enforcement experience.
Until recently, Stelma planned to retire. In early August, it seemed the keys to the county jail would be passed to Undersheriff Jon Hess, who would run as the Republican candidate.
But Hess and Stelma were reminded the Hatch Act keeps non-elected officials who administer federal funds from running for office.
Stelma decided to run again. But when asked directly by 24 Hour News 8 in October if he would serve his fourth term or resign and let Hess take over, Stelma didn't answer directly.
Stelma has spent the entire 41 years in law enforcement with the Kent County Sheriff's Department. He said transitioning into the newly expanded county jail is his top priority.
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