TUSCOLA — A former Las Vegas police officer will become the next sheriff of Douglas County on Dec. 1.
On Tuesday, county Republican voters elected Fred Galey of Tuscola over current chief deputy Peter Buckley by a margin of 1,798 votes to 1,587.
With no Democrats on the ballot, Galey is in line to succeed longtime Douglas County Sheriff Charlie McGrew, who is retiring on Nov. 30.
But Galey said he was prepared to run again in the fall in case the Democrats decide to slate a candidate.
Tuesday's election was a bit of a redemption for Galey, who lost to McGrew by 39 votes four years ago.
"I was stunned when I saw I won by that much" Tuesday, Galey said. "I thought it was going to be closer than that.
"Compared with the last election, this time I had a lot more people help me out in the areas of the county where I really needed it."
Galey, 58, graduated from Tuscola High School and studied microprecision technology at Parkland College.
He worked part-time for the Tuscola Police Department from 1977-78, left for the Douglas County Sheriff's Office (1978-80), and returned to Tuscola in 1981.
Galey next moved to Nevada, where he served with the Las Vegas Police Department for 27 years, retiring in 2008.
Galey said his top goals will be to keep the office within budget, to increase patrols on night shifts and to treat all employees with respect.
Buckley, 59, of Tuscola, was disappointed by the loss.
"It is tough to overcome the hometown guy. Obviously, the voters have spoken," he said. "But I still consider myself a winner because I got to meet a lot of wonderful people during the campaign whom I would not otherwise get to meet."
Buckley said he would support Galey in the general election this fall.
"I will support him because he is the Republican nominee," he said.
Broch wins judge race. Appointed judge Richard L. Broch Jr. defeated attorney Lorna K. Geiler for Douglas County circuit court judge, 1,932-1,377.
Broch said he was surprised to win so handily.
"It feels pretty good," he said Tuesday night. "I think it shows confidence by the people of Douglas County for my work.
"We have come to know a lot of people real well in our time here in Tuscola, and the support was pretty good."
After serving as an assistant public defender in Champaign County, Broch worked as assistant state's attorney in Douglas County from 1984-86.
Following two years of private practice with the firm of Moore & Carroll, he was elected Douglas County state's attorney in 1988, serving two four-year terms.
Broch returned to private practice in Tuscola from 1996-2012, when he was appointed as an associate circuit judge.
"I want to thank all my supporters in whatever capacity they served, whether it be putting signs in the yards or friend-to-friend contacts and especially voting," he said. "And I want to recognize by opponent, Lorna Geiler, for a hard-fought campaign."
Geiler, 51, of Tuscola, did not return calls for comment Tuesday night.