Election Day: Sheriff candidates respond to election results in Kosciusko and Marshall Counties

Tuesday’s election ended with an upset in Kosciusko County.

The race for the Republican ballot for Kosciusko County Sheriff was close, but current Sheriff Kyle Dukes, was ousted by one of his current deputies, Jim Smith.

First elected in 2018, Dukes lost this year’s race by about 500 votes out of more than 10,000 ballots cast in the race. Before becoming sheriff, Dukes was a state trooper for 18 years. As sheriff, he made a number of changes to the department but was criticized for his seemingly high salary.

Last night’s winner, Jim Smith, has worked for the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office since 2011. He is the favorite to become the county’s next sheriff following the November election.

Dukes took to Facebook to congratulate Smith.

"Election Day is always a bittersweet day, this day is not about winning or losing, it is about serving," he wrote. "I would like to thank Jim Smith for his service to our country and to our county. His passion to serve was evident during this election season.”

Smith also commented on his Facebook campaign page to share his vision for Kosciusko County.

“I wish Sheriff Dukes only the best as he moves forward," wrote Smith. "He has contributed positively to this sheriff’s office especially in the ways of additional mental health services for staff and in growing Jail Chemical Addiction Program. If elected in November, I look forward to continuing to grow those programs.”

And in Marshall County, the race for the GOP candidacy for sheriff ended with incumbent Matthew Hassel defeating his challenger, Jeff Wojcik taking 75% of the votes.

Hassel, the Marshall County sheriff of six years ran against Wojcik who believed his 35 years of administrative management experience would be a good fit for the position.

Hassel came out on top, securing more than 2,400 votes. Both candidates said no matter the end result they were grateful for the community support.

Hassel expressed his support at an election event.

“I’m looking very much forward to serving our community in Marshall County for another four years and I’m excited the returns have come in and knowing and feeling the support you get from an election gives me confidence to move forward with that we’ve been doing," said Hassel.

Wojcik also expressed his feelings.

“Maybe again some other day but for now we gave it a shot and I like to thank everybody that did vote for me and support me," said Wojcik.

If no one files in the upcoming November elections as a Democrat, Hassel will automatically become the sheriff and continue to serve Marshall County for another four years.

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