THE ISSUE: Hernando County sheriff's race.
OUR OPINION: Sheriff Al Nienhuis has become a fixture in the community who deserves a full term in office.
The race for Hernando County sheriff has been hard fought between incumbent Al Nienhuis and his main challenger, Democrat Eddie McConnell.
Both men bring loads of law enforcement experience to the table.
McConnell served nearly 23 years with the Hernando County Sheriff's Office before resigning to run for sheriff in 2000. He has worked at a number of smaller law enforcement agencies since then, including the Crystal River, the Brooksville and most recently the Groveland Police Department.
He has worked as a road patrol deputy, sergeant, detective, school resource officer and crime prevention coordinator during his years with the sheriff's office.
During that time he helped set up a number of worthwhile crime prevention programs among other notable contributions.
While McConnell is a worthy candidate, Nienhuis has campaigned hard since his appointment to cement his position as sheriff of Hernando County.
Nienhuis has had his share of controversies to deal with but has always taken the high road and we commend him for that. He has been more than willing to work with county commissioners on his budget during these challenging economic times. More compromise will be needed in the years to come.
While reducing the budget, Nienhuis has also been able to keep the crime rate down.
There is no arguing that McConnell has many of the qualities that help make for a good sheriff. There is also no question he has a passion for law enforcement and that he could easily relate to the deputies, given his past experiences with the sheriff's office.
However, Nienhuis has done an admirable job in his short time in office and McConnell has offered voters no compelling reason to make a change.
Hernando Today recommends voters cast their ballots for Al Nienhuis for sheriff.