The Men Who Would Be Sheriff
Published 4:24 am Wednesday, August 2, 2023
The four candidates who have campaigned the most for Panola County Sheriff stood for a group photo following their speeches and debate at the Mount Olivet Fire Department political rally on Saturday, July 29. From left, Sheriff Shane Phelps, Constable Dennis Darby, John Lantern, and Otis Griffin have spoken at several forums so far this year, each passionately imploring voters to give them the county’s top elected post. A fourth man, Greg Draper, qualified in January, but has run a stealth campaign, choosing not to participate in many of the forums and speaking opportunities. The candidates are well known to each other and to voters; three have been elected sheriff in the county before – Phelps currently, Darby before him, and Griffin before him. Additionally, retired MHP Officer Lantern is the brother of Reginald Lantern, a chief deputy in the Phelps administration. The field will be narrowed by two following next Tuesday’s Democratic Party Primary when Phelps, Lantern, and Draper will be on the ballot. The winner of that race will run in the November General Election against Darby and Griffin, both Independent candidates.