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Hall wins sheriff’s seat

Chip Hall closed out a grueling race for the Jackson County sheriff’s seat with a landslide victory against his opponent, Curtis Lambert. The Democrat took 64 percent of the vote compared to Lambert’s 36 percent. 


“I’m just excited about it, thankful to the citizens of Jackson County who trusted me to be their next sheriff,” Hall said. “You always got it [losing] in the back of your mind, but I was getting good feedback from the community. Good, positive support.”

Hall’s challenge had been to escape the assumption that, as second in command to Ashe, his administration would be more of the same, as Ashe’s time in office has been riddled with scandal and criticism. The lengthy list of questionable acts included putting 1,300 miles on a Harley motorcycle confiscated from a drug dealer before auctioning it off and setting up traffic stops outside of primarily Latino communities, a move decried as racial profiling. 

But Hall said he didn’t consider his working under Ashe a factor in the election. 

“It wasn’t a factor for me,” he said. “I’ve been there 26 years and tried to treaty people the way I want to be treated and treated them fair, so I was a going on my record is what I was putting out to the community.” 

Though Lambert didn’t have associations with Ashe to shake off, he accrued baggage of his own when he was fired from his post with the Sylva Police Department shortly before the May primary. Town Manager Paige Dowling would say only that he was let go for “job performance reasons,” though Lambert has consistently claimed that he did nothing wrong and is seeking legal recourse. 

He won the primary, but only after a second primary runoff. Only 43 votes separate Lambert from the lowest vote-getter of the three Republican candidates. That left him the general election to convince voters that, whatever the reason for his firing was, it was not something that would interfere with his fitness for the sheriff’s seat.

He also had the challenge of running as a Republican in a primarily Democratic county. Of the 27,000 registered voters in Jackson County, 39 percent are Democrat, and 11,000 people turned out to vote.

Lambert did not immediately return calls requesting comment. 



Jackson County Sheriff

Chip Hall (D)6,862

Curtis Lambert (R)3,806

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