MAYFIELD -- Jon Hayden can now remove the interim tag from his title.
Tuesday, Hayden was elected to fill the roughly three-year remainder of the term for Graves County sheriff. That term was left vacant following the death of former sheriff Dwayne Redmon in February.
A former three-time McCracken County sheriff, Hayden had been serving as interim sheriff after being appointed to the job by Graves County Judge-Executive Jesse Perry.
Running on the Democratic ticket, Hayden, a native of Fancy Farm, won 9,106 of nearly 13,000 votes cast in the Graves County sheriff's race.
Republican challenger Jason Clark of Lynnville garnered 3,733 votes.
Hayden won all 31 of Graves County's voting precincts, including absentee scan and mail-in votes. His largest total was 539 in his home community of Fancy Farm, which just edged Panther's tally of 538.
Clark, who had served as a police officer, Kentucky State Police trooper and who is a U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran, earned his highest number of votes in the Panther precinct with 277.
Hayden said he was surprised by the vote totals, but felt his chances of winning were good going into Election Day.
"Simply because of all the encouragement I received early on and so many Mayfield and Graves County residents who urged me to stay and run for this position," he said after the final results were tallied. "I'm very humbled."
Both men campaigned on their experience in law enforcement and also on leadership. Clark ran as a write-in candidate last November against Redmon and five other write-in candidates while serving in Iraq and finished second in the voting.
Hayden thanked his supporters and promised to work hard for the remainder of the current election term.
"The only way I know to thank them is to do the absolute best job I can do over next three years," he said. "I can assure them that we're going to work hard and do our best to make Mayfield and Graves County a safer place for everyone to live, work and raise their families."