Laurie Smith is widely considered a shoo-in to be re-elected as County Sheriff. She was first elected in 1998 by a fat majority of voters—becoming the first female sheriff in the state—and since then, her popularity has grown steadily. It was no surprise when Jose Salcido, the former head of the Deputy Sheriff’s Association (DSA), announced that he would run against her—he is becoming something of a perennial candidate. But this week, Salcido’s nemesis, former DSA vice president Joe Charvez, threw his hat into the ring as well.
Charvez says he decided to enter the race on June 17, and plainly states that the main reason for his candidacy is to block Salcido. “I have a problem with Jose Salcido’s integrity,” Charvez says.
Charvez has been a deputy sheriff since 1985, and was a member of the DSA board for around seven years. Salcido and Charvez have tangled since they have been on the board together, according to Charvez. He accuses Salcido of draining the DSA’s union funds and putting it toward his own self-serving purposes.
Salcido did not return several phone calls for comment.
In 2005, DA David Tomkins found, following an investigation, that Salcido committed perjury in a sworn declaration as part of an apparent cover-up of a vote-buying deal between the powerful DSA and the county’s chief executive, Pete Kutras. No criminal charges were filed.
In addition, Charvez alleges that in the past Salcido has “released information to the public that was supposed to be kept in confidence.”
Charvez admits that he is running because he sees it as the best way to bring questions about Salcido’s actions into the public space.
“Somebody’s got to say the king has no clothes on every now and then,” Charvez says.
Of course, the battle between the two DSA members may give incumbent Sheriff Smith an edge, as the two men attack each other while she remains above the fray.