Committee votes for Dever replacement amidst mourning
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
CREATED Sep. 20, 2012 - UPDATED: Sep. 21, 2012
BISBEE, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - It's been two days since the death of Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever, but picking a replacement nominee for the November ballot can't wait.
"It's a sad occasion that we have to do this and it was so very unexpected with what happened," Cochise County Judge Joseph Knoblock told KGUN9.
Sheriff Dever was running unopposed in the November election, placing the responsibility on the Cochise County Republican Committee to pick a replacement candidate.
Thursday, inside GOP headquarters, it took an hour an a half to reach an agreement.
"It's very stressful because these people are the ones making that decision on your future," Knoblock said.
With 31 out of 58 votes, Mark Dannels won the nomination, replacing Sheriff Dever on the November ballot.
Dannels worked with Dever for over 29 years and is currently a Cochise County Deputy Sheriff.
"This is a very unusual circumstance. I'm sure it has to be bittersweet for you. It's very bittersweet. It's probably the toughest job interview I've ever had to do under the toughest of conditions," Dannels said.
Dannels told KGUN9 the The two had an agreement that Dever would support Dannels in a 2016 run for Sheriff.
That plan some four years away transformed overnight when Dever was killed in a single vehicle rollover crash near the town of Williams, Tuesday.
"Right now I need to absorb the fact that this happened today," Dannels said.
"His family and friends are all grieving right now and the community and the citizens so we need to get through that before we do anything and can make any decisions on anything," continued Dannels.
The community will continue to grieve.Meantime, a symbol of their healing process appears at the entrance of party headquarters where a picture of the late Sheriff is taped to the front door. A sign reading, "re-elect Dever," also hangs inside.
"[We'll] continue on with what Larry's done all the way from the Immigration stance he's taken and supporting our ranchers and our agriculture here in Cochise County to treating people fair and just. and that where we're going to go," said Dannels.
There were four nominees in all, including current interim Sheriff, Rod Rothrock.