The primary election for Jackson County Sheriff has been canceled after a Tuesday, July 31 court ruling.
Judge David Michael Byrn of the 16th Circuit Court of Jackson County ruled that the the clerk of the Jackson County Legislature should not have opened a candidate filing window for a primary election after the resignation of previous sheriff Mike Sharp. Instead, Byrn ruled, the decision of which candidate to run in November’s general election will be made by the respective Jackson County committee’s of the Democratic and Republican parties.
As reported by local media outlets, including the Kansas City Star and KCUR, the decision means that 94 Democratic Jackson County committee members will be choosing the likely favorite in the sheriff’s race; though Republican committee members will also be selecting a candidate before the end of the month.
Mashanna Hester, Public Information Officer in the Jackson County Executive’s Office, released a statement on Wednesday, August 1 on behalf of the county.
“The Clerk of the Legislature, who serves as the election authority for candidate filing and calling county elections, asked for the assistance of the County Counselor’s Office in providing a legal opinion regarding the procedure to elect a sheriff to fill the remainder of the sheriff’s unexpired term, starting January 1, 2019,” Hester wrote in the statement. “The County Counselor’s Office acknowledged a lack of clarity in the law on this point, but reviewed that law and prior precedent, and determined that the best way to proceed was to open candidate filings for a primary election. However, that determination was taken to court and the court has decided differently. The County will follow the court’s order.”