Tulsa County voters made their voices heard and elected a new sheriff for the first time in almost three decades.
Republican Vic Regalado defeated Democrat Rex Berry Tuesday evening, winning about 60 percent of the vote and becoming the first ever Hispanic Tulsa County sheriff.
“To the people of Tulsa County, I’m humbled to receive such an overwhelming mandate from the voters who have entrusted me with the job of protecting our communities. Thank you,” he said in a victory speech.
Regalado has been the front-runner throughout the race. He beat out eight other Republican candidates on Super Tuesday, with 41 percent of the vote.
Though he won easily on Tuesday, it’s been a hard-fought race for Regalado. The Tulsa Democratic Party asked the ethics commission to investigate several donations to his campaign made on the same day, by members of the same company.
We have not heard whether the ethics commission looked into those donations.
Tuesday night Regalado said he will not waste in time in bringing change to the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office.
“We will not delay in bringing reform to the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office. We will end patronage and politics in decision-making. We will look to bring a new spirit of cooperation and citizen involvement to solve long-standing problems. And finally, let me be clear, we will not back down from enforcing the law” he said.
In a statement, the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office said it "looks forward to working with Sheriff Vic Regalado. We are eagerly anticipating the arrival of the new Sheriff in order to continue moving the office forward in a positive direction."
Regalado's opponent, Democrat Rex Berry, said he was feeling optimistic on Tuesday and that he had a lot of last-minute support through social media.
When asked to describe the last few weeks of his campaign he called them a combination of Dorothy’s tornado, utter confusion and pleasant surprises of support.
Berry, who has decades of experience in law enforcement including 26 years with the Tulsa Police Department, said he isn't done with his bid to become sheriff.
“I will sleep well tonight, I will be a grandfather and at the end of the month I will file again. So, Vic is not rid of me. He needs to be watching.”
Berry admitted he didn't have much of a campaign until recently, after Regalado showed up at one of his news conferences.
In his speech Tuesday, Berry had a message for Regalado.
“I want to give a shout out and appreciation to Vic Regalado for his injudicious act that brought me out of obscurity. And without him doing that I would not be here. I certainly hope he shows better judgment in the future.”
This election was to fill the unexpired term of former sheriff Stanley Glanz. Regalado will take over the position for the next eight months until another election.