Nevada County sheriff’s race heads to likely November runoff |

Nevada County sheriff’s race heads to likely November runoff

Candidate Bill Smethers Tuesday night.
Elias Funez/

UPDATE: According to Nevada County election officials there are 10,000 ballots still to be tallied. Final results will not be in until Thursday, possibly Friday.

UPDATE: 11:30 P.M.


Sheriff’s Capt. Shannan Moon and sheriff’s Executive Lt. Bill Smethers led the vote count after the first results were tallied in Tuesday’s election for Nevada County sheriff.

Moon, 49, had 4,869, or 35.27 percent of the vote. Smethers, 51, had 4,773 votes, or 34.29 percent. Former Grass Valley Police Chief John Foster, 61, had 4,161, or 30.15 percent. Check this story at for the most up-to-date results.

As of 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, just 21.62 percent of the vote had been reported by the Elections Office. Many more ballots remain to be counted.

The top two vote-getters will advance to a runoff in the November general election.

“Still feeling strong,” Smethers said. “It’s early in the counting. I think it’ll go to November. We’re excited about it.”

Foster and Moon couldn’t be reached for comment.

The sheriff’s race arguably drew the most interest this election cycle. Foster publicly announced his candidacy in late 2016, around the time Sheriff Keith Royal said he wouldn’t seek another term. Moon followed in June 2017 and Smethers in September.

The race remained cordial. Candidates joked with each other at forums and lobbed few barbs. Instead they argued over who had the most experience. Foster touted his years of management, which included being the Grass Valley police chief. Moon and Smethers pointed to their knowledge of Sheriff’s Office operations and decades of experience there.

The candidates agreed on much. Responding to questions in the wake of school shootings this year, all said they’d make no changes to the county’s concealed carry weapon permitting process. They also said county workers should be responsible for marijuana grow code compliance, and that sheriff’s deputies should focus on large, illegal grows.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email or call 530-477-4239.

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