Like every other sheriff in Arizona, Larry Dever was up for reelection this November. He faced no opposition, but his name was still set to appear on the general election ballot.
Dever’s death Tuesday night means that Cochise County officials must now get a replacement name on the ballot. The county attorney is working from three state laws to ensure the process goes smoothly.
ARS 11-43 says that when a vacancy occurs in the office of sheriff, it is the chief deputy who takes over until that vacancy is filled.
In this case, Chief Deputy Rod Rothrock takes over the day-to-day operations of the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office.
ARS 16-230 says that the county board of supervisors appoints a replacement for the sheriff, and that person holds the office until the next general election.
Since that is less than two months away, it is most likely that Rothrock will continue to be sheriff for the time being.
The office of sheriff is a partisan one. So it is up to the local party, in this case the Republican party, to come up with a replacement for Dever on the ballot. ARS 16-343 spells out that process.
Republican officials must make that determination quickly, because ballots for the November election need to go to the printer in the coming days in order to be ready in time for early balloting.
Larry Dever served four terms as Cochise County Sheriff.