Andy Shock of Conway overcame three challengers and a fraudulent attempt to derail his campaign to secure the Republican nomination for Faulkner County sheriff in Tuesday’s preferential primary election.
Shock, 38, garnered 53 percent of the votes in a race that highlighted the primary menu locally and appeared destined for a runoff. He will meet Democrat Tommy Earnhart, also of Conway, in the November general election.
The fall winner will succeed Shock’s boss, Sheriff Karl Byrd. The three-term Democrat chose not to seek re-election.
Shock, an enforcement major, survived a challenge from three other law enforcement veterans, all of Conway. Tim Ryals, 49, who has spent 22 years with the Arkansas State Police, was the closest challenger with 34 percent of the votes.
Max Young and H. Allen Smith finished third and fourth, respectively.
Unofficial final results show Shock with 3,670 votes, followed by Ryals with 2,333, Young with 735 and Smith with 132.
"We feel the voters responded a hundred percent to our positive campaign," Shock said Tuesday night.
He said he couldn’t claim complete surprise about avoiding a runoff.
"My political strategist kept saying I was on the edge, between 48 and 54 percent," Shock said, adding: "This was a huge team effort."
He said his campaign team will "take a breather and crank it back up in about a month."
Shock took a leave of absence weeks ago to devote time to his campaign, which survived an attempt to circulate forged documents claiming that Shock fathered a child in Texas and subsequently failed to pay child support. The case remains under investigation.
Shock and his wife, Kim, have been married 18 years and are lifetime residents of Faulkner County, where his family roots date to 1842. They have two children, Ryan, 16, and Alli, 14.
The primary generated only 15 percent turnout.