Gene Claps will be Adams County's next sheriff.
Claps, the Brighton Democrat, claimed 9,871 vote win over Republican Michael McIntosh in the county's general election Nov. 8, after two days of counting.
Claps had 84,209 votes to McIntosh's 74,338.
Claps led polling from the minute the first initial results were released Nov. 8 but declined to declare himself the winner until Adams County's County Clerk and Recorder and finished counting and released the final – but still unofficial – results.
Claps maintained a 8,979 vote lead into Nov. 10. The Adams County Clerk and Recorder's office said there were still 21,000 ballots waiting to be counted as of Nov. 9.
"I think we are still too soon," Claps said Nov. 10. "I wish I was that confident, but with 21,000 votes still out there, he could still pick up a win. But a friend of mine, who has a PhD in statistics, said that if I can get 30% of the remaining votes, I should still be able to win."
That final unofficial count came just before 6 p.m. Nov. 10. In a text message, Claps said a phone call concession from McIntosh came shortly after that.
Claps did say he was feeling pretty good after watching ballot totals come in all night on election night. He hosted a watch party at his Brighton home.
"I think we've done well," Claps said Tuesday night. "We did an outstanding job campaigning but I know there are still enough votes out there, so I'll wait to be sure."
McIntosh could not be reached for comment.
Next up, the County Clerk and Recorder's office is scheduled to perform an audit of the election results Nov. 19. Depending on that audit, the Clerk should certify the ballot by Nov. 23.
Claps worked under McIntosh, leaving after his successor Rick Riegenborn was elected sheriff in 2018. Claps went on to defeat Reigenborn in the 2022 Democratic primary last spring, setting the table for the current race.
Claps said he's worked under four administrations in the Adams County Sheriff's Office during his tenure there. He initially joined the department in 1995 and left in 2019. He started his campaign for the job in 2020.
"I still talked to people in the department every day," Claps said. "I'm still involved. I continue to talk to and work with the people District Attorney's office."
But Claps said he thinks it was his commitment to going door-to-door in the county that helped his campaign.
"I talked to the public," he said. "That's what this has all been about, reaching out to the community so we can be successful together."
That's driven his agenda should his apparent win Tuesday become official. He promised to be responsive to residents and work with community members and community groups to settle crime problems, whether that's speeding cars or car thefts.
"We have some parts of the community that say they have not seen a cop in their area in three years," Claps said. "So, we need to address that. I need to work on recruiting officers, getting them in the right positions to serve the agency."
He said he does not think there are many structural things that need to be changed with the department.
"The big thing is, we need to address all that's gone on in the past four years and bring some solidarity back to the sheriff's office and get it back out and working with the community."
And Claps said he doesn't see himself livestreaming car chases or signing television deals like his predecessor should he win.
"If I go on TV, it'll be for public announcements or public safety reasons," Claps said. "There are enough issues with law enforcement across the country, I don't wan't to fuel that. I want to do more to build some respect."