Undersheriff Kurt Picknell wins Walworth County sheriff primary

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Andrea Anderson
August 12, 2014

ELKHORN—Undersheriff Kurt Picknell is planning for a smooth transition as the person who will more than likely become the next Walworth County sheriff.

Picknell won the Republican primary election Tuesday night, beating Ken Brauer, a Walworth County sheriff's deputy, by 3,311 votes.

No Democrats will be on the ballot for sheriff in November, but Csaba Keller, town of Walworth, is running as a Democrat write-in candidate.

Picknell has been undersheriff for 14 years with Sheriff David Graves. Picknell started his law enforcement career in 1987. He has worked for several county law enforcement agencies.

Graves, 61, plans to retire.

“I'm pleased with the results, and moving forward in the future is organizing for succession planning that will be beneficial for the sheriff's office and ultimately the citizens of Walworth County,” Picknell said.

Picknell was at Ivan's, a restaurant in East Troy, with family and friends when he found out the results.

He said there are immediate and long-term priorities. Immediate is succession planning, and long-term is “having the sheriff's office continue to deliver its high level of safety service.”

Picknell attributed his success to his years of experience, education and endorsements from law enforcement, elected officials and citizens.

Brauer was at his town of La Grange home Tuesday night with family. He was disappointed with the results. He believes the outcome shows people vote based on endorsements and not the real life issues in the sheriff's office, he said.

“I went out and I ran on the principles I believe in—the honesty, the integrity, the accountability—and didn't compromise what I thought the message had to be,” Brauer said. “I still hang my head high, and I'm still going to.”

Brauer plans to continue his daily duties at the sheriff's office Wednesday and doesn't anticipate the loss to affect his work. He said he hopes the race encourages Picknell to make some changes, but he's skeptical.

“I wish I had a better showing, and I wish the results were different, but we will see what happens,” Brauer said. “There's issues they have to deal with, and I hope they address them.”

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