DALEVILLE, Va (WDBJ7) Sounds of Celebration filled Daleville's Tizzone Restaurant Tuesday night as Matt Ward clinched the Republican Nomination for Botetourt County Sheriff.
Ward defeated two others, Matt Vineyard and Jeff Stritesky, racking up 3,331 votes and besting his nearest challenger, Stritesky, by nearly 25 points.
"This is great. This is what I've been dreaming about for years," said Ward at his victory party.
Ward's pitch to voters centered around his years of experience in law enforcement, a lifetime lived in Botetourt County, and a pledge to keep the sheriff's office community focused.
"Making you and your family a priority," he said, "that's been my message from the start."
Ward says during the six month long primary campaign, he's tried to be as open to people as possible.
"Whether I've been working or on my days off, if somebody calls me at home I've always been available, and that's what I'll continue to do," he said.
At Ward's Victory party, dozens of supporters cheered as the results were announced. Some, like Troutville mayor David Horton, have supported Ward for years.
"I think this is the happiest I've been since we had our two daughters born," said Horton, adding that he's proud of his longtime friend and neighbor. "I can't say but good things for Matt. He's a great guy."
Other voters say Ward's experience with the Sheriff's office set him apart. Jamie Dooley said "being a Botetourt County citizen, someone that knows the county and what the county is in need of," is what appealed to her about Ward.
With the Republican primary out of the way, Ward goes on to face independent candidates William Stowell and Danny Crouse in the general election in November.
"We worked hard and we're going to continue working hard," said Ward.