Allen claims Republican sheriff primary

Published 10:52 pm Tuesday, May 17, 2022

SALISBURY — Travis Allen claimed victory in the Rowan County sheriff Republican primary after taking a commanding early lead Tuesday night.

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office detective and Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board of Education member cleared his nearest opponent, County Commissioner and Charlotte police officer Mike Caskey, by nearly 10 percentage points when preliminary vote totals came in.

Allen finished with 32.78% of the vote, avoiding a runoff election with Caskey.

Allen is 2o-year veteran of the office and won out over a wide candidate pool on the Republican side. Countywide elections in Rowan County have historically heavily favored Republican candidates. His school board term would expire as he takes office should he prevail in November.

Allen said a runoff election would have been very difficult for his campaign and avoiding it was a relief.

“We threw every dime we had at this one to avoid a runoff,” he said.

Allen said he studied the race closely and knew Caskey would be his biggest opponent as a long-time commissioner with backing from other local office holders. Allen focused on the southern part of the county where he knew Caskey would be strongest.

Allen went down a list of registered Republicans who voted in the last election in South Rowan and started knocking on doors. He said he personally knocked on 3,000 doors on his days off.

“I knew I had to do that,” Allen said. “I would wake up on my days off and say, ‘I am just too tired,’ but it was the only way I was going to do it. It doesn’t cost anything but a bit of gas money.”

He spent the primary election day in the Bradshaw district and saw that work pay off in person.

“I had people come to me and say, ‘You came to my door,’ ” Allen said.

Allen was complimentary of Caskey, saying he is a good man.

Caskey said he called Allen to congratulate him shortly after his win.

“I’m a little tired but it’s what elections are about,” Caskey said. “I’ve won a few and lost a couple. It wasn’t meant to be and I guess the citizens had their chance to vote and they decided they wanted me to stay commissioner.”

Caskey’s term as a commissioner runs through December 2024.

Allen said his main priority if he succeeds in November is to work with people already in the sheriff’s office, including campaign opponents Greg Hannold and Tommie Cato.

“These men are good law enforcement officers,” Allen said. “We’ll get this election behind us and we’re going to look forward.”

Cato, a school resource officer with the sheriff’s office, came in third, capturing 16.67% of the vote. He said he was humbled by the people who voted for him and the campaign was more draining than he expected.

Carlton Killian easily won the Democratic primarily against his opponent Simon Brown, capturing 61.23% of the vote. Killian could not be immediately reached for comment.

These are the full results from the sheriff race:


Travis Allen: 5,082 votes, 32.78%

Mike Caskey: 3,445 votes, 22.22%

Tommie Cato: 2,584 votes, 16.67%

Greg Hannold: 2,433 votes, 15.69%

Brad Potts: 1,523 votes, 9.82%

Jack Eller: 437, 2.8%


Carlton Killian: 2,206 votes, 61.23%

Simon Brown: 1,397 votes, 38.77%

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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