PONTIAC — Livingston County Chief Deputy Tony Childress describes himself as a patient man.
In 2010, he set his sights on winning the sheriff's office, but his campaign took a hit when the Livingston County Electoral Board ruled he did not have enough valid signatures to be on the ballot.
Marty Meredith won the job, but resigned last fall and appointed Childress as his successor. The Livingston County Board, however, reversed the decision, appointing former Police Chief Al Lindsey until the following general election.
Following Tuesday's general primary election, the path appears clear for Childress to finally get the job. He received 3,375 votes, more than twice as many as any other candidate in the four-man race for the GOP nomination. Other candidates included former Fairbury Police Chief Jack Wiser (1,632 votes), former Sheriff Marvin Rutledge (1,622), Dwight Police Officer Mark Scott (575). No Democrat are seeking the post.
"It has been a long, hard-fought process, but I am absolutely elated and very gracious and humble," Childress said Wednesday. "I look back at four years ago and now, realize that it just wasn't my time. I can see that God has a plan and now, this is my opportunity to put forth my best effort and prove to the citizens of Livingston County that they made a good decision."
Childress, a 23-year veteran of the Sheriff's Department, said he will continue to learn from Lindsey until he is sworn in.
"I have the utmost respect and admiration for Sheriff Lindsey," he said. "He is a pioneer of law enforcement and I have already learned a lot from him and will certainly take advantage of the time I have left under his administration."
The goals for his own administration will include upgrading the county's equipment and providing the best service possible for Livingston County citizens.
"You don't get anywhere by trying to rush things and I know there is still a lot more for me to learn," he said. "But I am eager to learn and move forward and I know that when I take over in December, I will be fully prepared."