Results: York County sheriff race heads to runoff

YORK COUNTY, S.C. — The York County sheriff’s race will head to a runoff.

With 100% of precincts reporting, Michael Belk is leading the field of five candidates with 26.57%.

Tony Breeden is second with 25.81%.

Because neither candidate garnered 50% of the votes, the race will head to a runoff.

It’s been a controversial race that started when the current sheriff, Republican Kevin Tolson, decided last minute to take his name off the ballot. His wife, Beth Tolson, announced that she would run.

Republicans voted to re-open candidate filing and four other Republicans entered the ring.

Beth Tolson took home 18.31% of the vote in Tuesday’s election.

A competitive race

Belk and Breeden spent a lot of time stumping across York County, and it paid off for them.

“We’ve been out working hard, my team had people in the right places,” Belk told Channel 9′s Tina Terry.

Breeden was right on his heels Tuesday night.

Now, the race is between two candidates with connections to the Rock Hill Police Department.

Belk is currently second in command at the department, and he says his experience set him apart from the pack Tuesday.

“I’m the only candidate that’s made it past the rank of lieutenant and has served in an executive position with the large law enforcement agency in the county,” Belk said.

Breeden retired from RHPD two years ago as a lieutenant. He told Terry he’s encouraged by Tuesday’s results.

“I think the thing that’s made the difference for me is my message has stayed the same since the beginning,” Breeden said. “I have made it clear I would stand and uphold the Constitution, I have made fighting crime my platform - violent crime, property crime.”

Breeden believes his leadership experience will help him win this competition in two weeks.

“I think people also want leadership and real leadership and somebody that’s done the job, and didn’t obtain rank because they chose to be an administrative person and not a street cop and a crime fighter,” Breeden said. “I chose to work the streets, and fight crime, and build relationships and get out there with people and serve the community.”

The runoff election is scheduled for June 25.

VIDEO: Councilman urges Democrats to vote in Republican primary for York County sheriff

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