Bieber wins Republican primary over Gutho

Incumbent sheriff now faces Sorlie in November

Incumbent Shawano County Sheriff Adam Bieber turned back a challenge from former chief deputy John Gutho to clinch the Republican nomination in Tuesday’s primary race.

Bieber will face independent candidate and Shawano police officer Keith Sorlie in the Nov. 6 general election.

The final vote tally, which still has to be certified by the Board of Canvass, was

Bieber — 3,672

Gutho — 2,469

Gutho held his own and in some cases outperformed Bieber in some of the outlying areas of the county, but the vote began trending Bieber’s way as results closer to the city of Shawano, where Bieber resides, started coming in.

Bieber won 963 votes in the city to Gutho’s 418.

The candidates differed on a range of issues, including the extent of employee turnover and the level of morale in the sheriff’s department.

Gutho had said he would work to address those issues, while Bieber maintained turnover was a problem for all counties in Wisconsin, particularly in corrections, and not unique to Shawano. He also disputed Gutho’s contention that morale was “at an all-time low.”

Gutho and Bieber also split on whether manpower was being used efficiently, with Gutho saying the Birnamwood, Aniwa and Mattoon areas were particularly understaffed.

Bieber maintained that resources are currently spread out evenly throughout the county.

Bieber, who was a Shawano police officer starting in 2003 until he challenged and defeated former sheriff Randy Wright in the 2014 election, based his campaign on what he said have been the accomplishments of his tenure in office.

Gutho campaigned on his experience in law enforcement and familiarity with the sheriff’s department budget, which he oversaw as chief deputy.

Gutho started with the sheriff’s office in 1988 as a jailer, then moved up through dispatch, patrol and the captain’s position before serving for eight years as chief deputy. He retired from the sheriff’s department in January 2016.