MIDLAND COUNTY, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – The man many wanted to see as the next boss of the Midland County Sheriff’s Office, is expected to announce his candidacy.
Deputy Chief Rory McKinney posted that he will announce his bid for sheriff at 4 p.m. Monday just outside the Sheriff’s Office.
The position came open after the sudden and unexpected death of beloved Sheriff Gary Painter back in May. The community came together to celebrate the life of Sheriff Painter in a large memorial ceremony a few days later.
Shortly after his passing, County Commissioners were left with a decision to make; who would take over as the next Sheriff of Midland County.
The decision proved to be a difficult one as some wanted McKinney and others felt someone else should be nominated to serve out Painter’s term. Commissioner Randy Prude said their responsibility was to remain neutral in the decision, letting voters make their own choice in the coming election.
“The court needs to stay neutral in this particular case, because all of the men who have stepped forward and have asked to be Sheriff are good men,” Commissioner Randy Prude said. “And rather than influencing the vote, we have chosen to let the voters make their decision on March 2nd, which I believe is the next primary.”
The selection created an uproar among the community as the Commissioners ultimately decided to appoint Richard Gillette as the acting sheriff instead of McKinney.
Gillette was an investigator with the Midland County District Attorney’s Office prior to the appointment.
However, the call for McKinney continues, even from Painter’s family members who attended the commissioners meeting back in June.
“Chief Deputy McKinney is his choice,” said Gary Painter’s daughter, Jennifer Painter. “My father trusted him wholeheartedly, and he would not have chosen him to be his Chief Deputy if he didn’t trust him to take over if anything happened to him.”
The primary will be held on March 3, 2020 with a runoff the following month.
Election day is Nov. 3, 2020.