PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Incumbent sheriffs in three Hampton Roads cities easily won re-election in 2021, based on unofficial election results Wednesday morning.
On Tuesday, November 2, voters decided who would serve as the sheriffs of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Portsmouth.
The races included incumbent candidates from each locality who were challenged for their positions as top-elected law enforcement officers on the Southside.
Three-term Republican incumbent Ken Stolle faced off against Democratic newcomer Antonio Passaro Jr. in the race for sheriff in Virginia Beach.
As of Wednesday morning, Stolle was leading by more than 45,000 votes with 99% precincts reporting, 63.4% to 36.6%.
Stolle, Virginia Beach’s current sheriff, secured a fourth term, according to preliminary election results. He was first elected to the position in 2009. This election marked Passaro’s first political campaign.
Stolle released a statement Tuesday night on the election:
“I am honored to have been elected to a fourth term as Sheriff of Virginia Beach. Votes are not given, they are earned, and I will work every day to continue to earn the support of this community, uphold the public trust, and make Virginia Beach a better, safer place. Thank you to the voters for the continued faith that you have placed in me, thank you to my family for your tireless patience and support, and thank you to the 500 deputies and civilians of the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office for your daily service and sacrifice. I am honored to be your Sheriff.”
Passaro’s campaign issued a statement Wednesday morning.
“While our journey has not brought us to the destination we envisioned, I want to say thatAntonio Passaro, Jr.
I am truly honored to have earned the support that Virginia Beach did show us in this
election. Thank you to my family and friends for your kindness, your understanding and
your support. Thank you to my staff and volunteers for your tireless devotion, your
dedication, and your hard work on this campaign. We meet two kinds of people in life:
those who build us up and those who tear us down. And, in the end, we thank them both.”
Stolle and Passaro both have career experience in law enforcement. Stolle was a sergeant in the Virginia Beach Police Department, where he worked from 1976 until 1987. Passaro became a Virginia State Police trooper at age 22 and was later appointed as a special agent. He worked in law enforcement for more than 15 years.
Stolle has prior political experience. He was first elected to the Virginia General Assembly in 1991 and served as senator for District 8. He worked on the Senate Finance Public Safety Subcommittee and the Crime Commission.
Passaro listed his first priority as “eliminating political influence from the Sheriff’s Office,” claiming that that influence has hindered progress in Virginia Beach. He also campaigned on plans to improve transparency and engagement, address mental health, rehabilitation and recidivism, and revamp law enforcement training and education, according to his website.
Stolle listed his top campaign issue as putting public safety first by continuing programs that carefully monitor criminal behavior inside and outside of the jail and remove drugs off the streets. He said he’s also focused on reducing recidivism, including the creation of the Reentry Program to help inmates return to the public after serving time. He is also focused on saving taxpayer dollars by increasing revenue at the jail through commissary sales and the Inmate Workforce program, according to his website.
Democratic incumbent Joe Baron and Independent candidate Neil Bradley vyed for the position of Norfolk sheriff. Baron was appointed to the job in 2017 in the midst of a federal investigation into former Norfolk Sheriff Bob McCabe. He was elected to the position later that year.
As of Wednesday morning, Baron was up by more than 22,000 votes, 32,888 to 10,266 for Bradley.
He provided 10 On Your Side with the following statement:
I am grateful and humbled for the trust the citizens of Norfolk have shown for me and the leadership I’ve provided over the last four years at the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office. I want to thank every volunteer, my family, and everyone who made our win possible today. I’ll continue to focus on building public trust and seeking ways our organization can make a meaningful difference in our community.
Baron and Bradley both have career law enforcement experience. Baron has worked in law enforcement for 20 years, holding jobs in the Norfolk Police Department and Norfolk Sheriff’s Office. Bradley also worked for the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office.
Baron listed his priorities as focusing on inmate programs that address education, job skills, mental health, and substance abuse. He said he will continue to focus on keeping a motivated and well-trained staff and ensuring a healthy and clean jail environment, according to his website.
Bradley did not list his priorities on his campaign Facebook page. A link to his campaign website is broken. 10 On Your Side called Bradley to ask him what his priorities as sheriff would be, but we did not receive a response by the time of publication. We will update this article is we receive comment on his priorities or the race results.
Democratic incumbent Michael Moore ran for re-election against Independent candidate Stanley Davis. Moore is the current sheriff of Portsmouth and was first elected to the position in 2017.
As of Wednesday morning, Moore had an overwhelming majority of the votes, 20,552 to 6,459 with 97% reporting.
Moore has worked in law enforcement for 26 years. He began his law enforcement career as a trooper with the Virginia State Police. He also worked as a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, as a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and as a supervisor for the Department of Justice and ATF hostage and crisis negotiation team, according to his campaign Facebook page.
Davis’ Facebook page lists his current job as a security officer at the U.S. Department of Energy. He is a U.S. Army Veteran with career experience working as a school resource officer, a corrections officer for the Virginia Department of Corrections, a police officer at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, and a deputy sheriff.
Neither candidate listed their political priorities on their Facebook pages.