PANTEGO (CBSDFW.COM) – There is going to be a new sheriff in Tarrant County next year. After receiving 55 percent of the vote, Bill Waybourn held onto a lead of more than 3,000 votes over incumbent Sheriff Dee Anderson. Waybourn claimed victory at around 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday night.
The final total was 17,684 votes for Waybourn and 14,521 votes for Anderson.
Waybourn took his win to mean that people responded to his vision of a more public role for this job. “We knew we had a high hill to climb. But we knew, if we cast our vision and built a team around us, we’d have a shot at it,” Waybourn said Tuesday at his election night party. “We believe we got that shot and good Lord delivered us a victory.”
During his campaign, Waybourn received some high-profile endorsements from former Gov. Rick Perry and Taya Kyle, widow of killed military sniper Chris Kyle. The former Dalworthington Gardens Police Department chief was also endorsed by several police associations including those in Fort Worth, Arlington and Mansfield. He pointed to these as a sign that officer morale is low.
Anderson ran on experience, saying that his record as sheriff for more than 15 years spoke for itself. This would have been his fifth and last term, he stated. Waybourn brings plenty of his own experience to the table. He was chief of the Dalworthington Gardens Police Department for 30 years.
Before the election results were in, Anderson said, “There’s a difference between being a real leader and being someone who has no experience leading a department of this size. My opponent ran a town the size of a postage stamp. I have more people in jail every day than his city.” Anderson was unavailable for comment after the race.
With no Democratic candidate in the race, Waybourn will face only Libertarian candidate Max Koch on the November ballot. Koch has not even campaigned, so Waybourn is expected to become the new sheriff in January.