Gardner lands prominent endorsement

A sheriff’s race can, at times, appear like a battle of endorsements. Sides are picked and alliances made. Guilds skew one way or the other. And with each well-known name that voices allegiance, a candidate considers it a small victory.

Sheriff candidate Shane Gardner picked up a big endorsement for his campaign earlier in the week, landing Erin Nolan, the chief civil deputy for the sheriff’s office.

It’s a particularly prominent endorsement for Gardner, who’s running without a party affiliation. While he’s picked up some notable names over the past months, few come with the same bipartisan cache as Nolan. Meanwhile, his political challenger, retired Cmdr. Chuck Atkins, has picked up a plethora of endorsements from within the office, including a whole list of deputies and supervisory staff.

In a statement, Nolan said she made the decision to endorse Gardner after much consideration. She also made a dig at the Sheriff Frank Kanekoa era, which old-timers may remember.

It is well-known that I know and like both candidates. I have worked with both over my nearly 30 years with the Sheriff’s Office, and I am well aware of their strengths and weaknesses. I have also weathered the storm of the “good ole’ days” and spent many of my years working with “the good ole’ boys”. I am one of the few remaining deputies that worked for Sheriff Kanekoa, and I marvel at how far we’ve come.

The next Sheriff will face many challenges, not the least of which will be the huge transition to a new administration – something that hasn’t happened during the careers of most current Sheriff’s Office employees. The next Sheriff will need to continue to grow the department, facilitate healing within the ranks after a significant transition, foster diversity and encourage everyone to work better together.

— Erin Nolan

Tyler Graf

Tyler Graf

I started working for The Columbian in 2012 and currently cover Clark County. I'm a 2007 graduate of The University of Oregon. Contact me at

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