From The Bulletin, November 3, 2020. Updates will be posted here as they become available.
Sheriff Nelson appears headed for re-election
Nov 3, 2020 Updated Nov 3, 2020
Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson appeared on his way to reelection Tuesday night, leading challenger Scott Schaier with 55% of the vote, according to initial returns.
“I am deeply honored by the trust and confidence placed in me, and my teammates, by the voters of Deschutes County,” Nelson said in a statement. “Together with the great people at your sheriff’s office, I will do everything I can to continue to improve services to my 200,000 bosses. My door will always be open and I will always try to do my best.”
Schaier did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Nelson was appointed sheriff by the County Commission in 2015. He was opposed in the 2016 election by one of his deputies, who he ended up beating by 10 percentage points in the race.
And as it was in 2016, the race for Deschutes County sheriff was bitter and contentious.
Schaier, a Bend Police officer, ran as a change candidate highly critical of Nelson’s record on transparency and accountability, and calling for a more modern approach to law enforcement.
Nelson hit back, pointing to Schaier’s relative inexperience in leadership roles and his fatal shooting of an unarmed man in 2016. Schaier was cleared of wrongdoing in the incident though the city of Bend paid out $800,000 to the mother of the man killed, Michael Tyler Jacques, a fact highlighted in Nelson’s campaign ads.
Nelson raised $103,000 in campaign contributions and spent $68,000.
Schaier raised $76,000 and spent $54,000.
Throughout the campaign, Nelson was opposed by members of his own deputy’s union, including former President Stacy Crawford, who stepped down as president days before the election.
With a little more than a week remaining in the race, a group of women who are former and current sheriff’s office employees accused the sheriff of maintaining a workplace hostile to women, in an event organized by one of Schaier’s campaign consultants.
Nelson thanked his wife, Lisa, a Bend Police officer, in his press statement.
“I am profoundly grateful for the people who have supported my campaign in various ways and those who gave their time to volunteer on my behalf. Particularly Lisa, my wife, my constant, and my rock,” he said.