By Jacob Kittilstad, WJTV12
Adams County is headed toward having it’s first African-American sheriff since reconstruction.
An independent candidate is withdrawing from the race leaving new-comer Travis Patten unopposed in the general election.
Travis Patten is 36-years-old. He defeated the incumbent sheriff Chuck Mayfield in the primary and in a run-off he beat another democratic candidate, Randy Freeman.
After all that the independent candidate, Elvis Prater, pulled himself from the race.
“Like I say, it’s a humbling experience for me – coming from running through the pastures barefooted, eating dirt. The next thing you know I’m the sheriff of Adams County,” Patten said.
Patten has a background in law enforcement across Adams and Claiborne counties but more recently he’s gotten finance experience not many other candidates can boast.
“I’ve also been doing mortgages for the last eight years with integrity mortgage center. So, you know, I’m very diverse. Even with the faith part of it. I’ve been a member here at New Hope [M.B. Church] for 15 years. I’ve been a deacon for the last seven,” Patten said.
Bishop Stanley Searcy of New Hope M.B. Church says he was an early supporter.
“And we went to a political science major and we asked him his opinion and he says no way he could win in this county cause he was too young and he was African-American and he didn’t think they was ready for that,” Bishop Searcy said.
“Travis was so confident that God had ordained him to do this and that this was his time to run. I never saw him waiver. So his confidence caused me to have confidence as well,” Bishop Searcy said.
“Me and my wife and kids, we actually drove for ice cream while the results were coming in,” Patten said.
“So we left and got some ice cream. But, I had a peace about everything because I knew I had did the best that I could do,” Patten said.
And that was good enough to win the run-off.
He says he’s planning on opening better communications with the public about enforcement and the jail. He says he is also hoping to be a role model as a black man in a position of power during a time of tension and questioning of authorities.
“All over the nation there was unrest. You had people from North to South, East to West – you know, relationships between law enforcement just disapating totally. And even here in our local community I didn’t want to see that happen and I just didn’t want to sit around,” Patten said.
Patten still has to win in the general election but again – he is treating it almost as a moot-point as his opponent has dropped his campaign.
He is, however, still asking people for their votes.