Huston overcomes Davis after heated campaign

Nathan Domenighini
Tazewell County Sheriff Robert Huston looks at results showing he is leading in the Nov. 2 race for sheriff between him and Democrat challenger Ron Davis.

Just days before the polls opened in Tazewell, video surfaced on the Internet showing Republican Tazewell County Sheriff Robert Huston refusing to shake his opponent’s hand prior to a debate.

Among heckles from the audience, Huston refused to shake Democratic sheriff candidate Ron Davis’ hand. Huston wouldn’t even look Davis in the eye.

“Be a man. Shake his hand,” an audience member shouted.

Huston never did.

And, just hours prior to learning he will return to the sheriff’s office, Huston said he still does not plan to shake Davis’ hand.

“No,” Huston firmly responded.

Huston was the clear cut winner Tuesday night, taking more than 60 percent of Tazewell County votes after what was an often heated campaign between the two candidates.

“This has been a nasty campaign,” Huston said. “It was the first one that I have been involved in that was negative.

“Obviously, I’m glad to see this come to an end,” he added.

Despite questions of his management of the Tazewell County Jail and criticism of the use of overtime for jailers, Huston, a 12-year incumbent, was able to maintain the sheriff’s office.

“I would be surprised for a lot of reasons if I lost,” Huston said. “From 1998 to 2010, the office is very different. It’s much better.

“My opponent has been trying to distort that record,” he added. “He’s created a false impression about the sheriff’s office.”

Huston said he does not plan to do anything different while he maintains the sheriff’s office.

“We’ve worked very hard to build that office into a professional operation,” Huston said.

He knows there are a few employees within the sheriff’s office that have turned on him, he added.

“They work for me and the citizens of Tazewell County,” Huston said. “I didn’t go and ask for the support of my employees. I think it’s unethical.”