Barnett wins Republican primary for Jefferson County sheriff

·3 min read

Jun. 29—WATERTOWN — Peter R. Barnett has won the Republican primary for Jefferson County sheriff, and with no Democrat opposing him, he will become the next sheriff on Jan. 1.

"It's very humbling to see that I've come out on top," he said. "I put my message out there about hard work, commitment and my dedication, and all the years of service, and I'm ready. I'm a well-rounded, fair, experienced, law enforcement person, and I look forward to taking on the challenges of being the next sheriff."

Mr. Barnett ended primary night with 2,444 votes, or 43%. Perry J. Golden received 1,973 votes, or 35%, and Gerald W. Delish ended with 1,261 votes, or 22%.

Mr. Barnett said he will announce his undersheriff in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, Mr. Barnett said he's going to take time to rest.

"Right now, I'm just going to sit back and take care of some personal things around the house and get ready to transition into the job come January," he said.

Mr. Barnett had spent 26 years with the sheriff's office and spent time as a deputy sheriff, detective, drug investigator, juvenile aid officer, D.A.R.E officer and court security officer.

Mr. Barnett left the sheriff's office in 2013 and began working with the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office as the investigator for the human services department and as the investigator with the public defender's office.

Mr. Barnett was also a high school and college lacrosse official. He recently worked at the Watertown Runnings on Arsenal Street.

"People have asked me, 'Why are you dedicating yourself to retail?' It's simple. I enjoy working with the public and I love helping people," Mr. Barnett said in December when he announced his run for sheriff.

He also said in December that this has always been something he wanted to do.

"I've always known it, throughout my career," he said in December. "In the political realm, you just don't know when the timing is right. My personal life is all settled. My wife and I are empty nesters now. We live right here in Watertown, and the timing is just right."

Through his campaign, Mr. Barnett said he would treat people who are incarcerated, or people who are in the criminal justice system "with dignity and respect."

Mr. Barnett said he would also focus on addressing bail reform and the "criminal element in the community."

Just after his win on Tuesday night, Mr. Barnett, while grateful he won, said he wishes more people would have voted on Tuesday.

"Thank you to the Republican voters for coming out," he said. "I've always said that, besides the Second Amendment, the other two big civic things for us is your right to vote, and your right to serve on a jury, and with the numbers today, yes, I'm pleased that I came out on top. But with all the issues going on, boy, there should be a lot more people out voting."

"I'm just a little shocked, I can't believe that this is actually happening," he added.