Former Sheriff with troubled past challenges police captain for Saluda County Sheriff’s seat

SALUDA COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – One of the biggest races among voters in our area is the race for Saluda County Sheriff.  A familiar face is running for that position.

It is really going to come down to what happens in the General Election before we see who gets that top spot, but on Tuesday voters will decide which of the two Republicans they want to face the current sheriff in the fall.

George Nichols, a Saluda voter who went to cast a ballot early in the afternoon on Hollywood Road, said he thinks he knows how others will vote.

“I personally think the present Sheriff will win in the General Election.”

Another voter, Linda Shamblen, disagrees with current Sheriff John Perry receiving another term.

“I think Booth is the most conservative,” she said of the previous Sheriff’s candidate on the GOP ballot, Jason Booth.

We also spoke with Cacie Corley, who pledged support for someone she knows personally.

“Robin Freeman definitely. He’s the one for the job I believe.”

It’s anybody’s game when it comes to who will take the top spot at the Saluda County Sheriff’s Office.  Voters will decide whether Republicans Jason Booth or Robin Freeman should challenge the incumbent John Perry for a chance to serve and protect.

Nita Berry, who lives in Saluda County, wants Perry to win because she said he’s already doing a good job.

“Sheriff Perry and he’s done an acceptable and good job and we’ve had contact with him and he’s been fair and nice with us.”

But not every voter will cast a ballot for the man already in office.  Some said the Saluda Police Department Captain, Robin Freeman, has a good chance at getting the job done the right way.

“I have a plan that is tax free that will guarantee a deputy sheriff at every school every day the doors are open in Saluda County,” Freeman said in a video posted to his Facebook page.

Corley supports this program.

“I have nephews and nieces.  I don’t have any kids of my own.  They go to Hollywood in Saluda so I really would like the extra safety for them I think would be great,” she said.

Also on the GOP ticket is Jason Booth, the county’s former sheriff from 2001 until 2012, when he resigned after being charged with using inmate labor to build a shed on his property.

He told voters on his Facebook page, “I’ll reestablish resident deputies once again in Saluda County in the Traffic Circle area and the Ridge Spring, Ward and Monetta areas of Saluda County where folks don’t see law enforcement on a regular basis.”

Booth’s plan also includes improving deputy response times.

But some voters said Booth’s past is going to work against him.

“Well, hadn’t been no scandal connected with him and he’s well known,” Nichols said to News Channel 6.

Freeman on the other hand said he will use inmates in a different way.

“To get inmates out of the cells picking up trash, to get drug dealers put in jail and most importantly to protect our children,” he said.

We noticed after talking with voters that the support is truly spread out equally, so it will be interesting to see the results, especially this fall.

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