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Blaine County Sheriff race gains momentum ahead of upcoming primary

Posted at 5:42 PM, May 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-16 11:53:10-04

BLAINE COUNTY, Idaho — The upcoming primary election includes a race for Blaine County Sheriff between incumbent Sheriff Steve Harkins and contender Morgan Ballis.

  • The primary election is scheduled for Tuesday, May 21.
  • Steve Harkins has 33 years of law enforcement experience in the state.
  • Morgan Ballis has been with Hailey Police for 2 years, after serving 11 years as a United States Marine.
  • The race also features a Republican challenger, Aaron Hughston.

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

"I've got a vast knowledge of law enforcement," says Blaine County Sheriff Steve Harkins. Harkins has worked in law enforcement in Idaho for 33 years, elected to his first term as Blaine County Sheriff in 2016.

"Law enforcement has changed a lot since I became a cop in the early 90s and stuff," said Sheriff Harkins. "As for this community, I love this community. It's a great community. It's also changed as well. It's been discovered and our population is growing and we need to keep up with those needs and resources."

Managing 70 employees and a $10 million budget with initiatives to serve various pockets of the community — "We've got a growing Hispanic population. Years ago, we recognized that, and we started the Hispanic liaison team," Sheriff Harkins said.

Sheriff Harkins says he hopes to be reelected so he can continue to serve the members of his community. "I've got the most cohesive and motivated team we've ever had, and we are the leader of law enforcement in the Wood River Valley, and we're very proud of that," says Sheriff Harkins. "And so I want to do it another 4 years. It's the best job in the world."

Running against the incumbent, Morgan Ballis, who, after serving 11 years in the United States Marines, has been with Hailey Police for two years and is president of the Idaho Association of School Resource Officers. "I have a diverse background in leadership and administration because of my time in the Marines," Ballis said. "My experience isn't limited to working in this county, so I want to leverage that experience."

In addition to fostering partnerships to address mental health issues in Blaine County, as sheriff, Ballis would like to implement school resource officers in all the county's schools. "Their primary role is to build relationships. They help support students, staff and parents."

Also on the November ballot for the Republican Party, Blaine County resident and business owner Aaron Hughston. "What we need in the community is present accountable leadership," Hughston said.

With his experience in law enforcement dating back to high school, Hughston has worked with a number of agencies in the state such as Blaine County Sheriff's Office, Meridian Police Academy, and Elmore County Sheriff's Office — running on issues such as mental health and how to address rapid population growth in the area.