Tom Reich Wins Race for Eaton County Sheriff

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After eight years, Eaton County is getting a new sheriff. Democrat Tom Reich beat Sheriff Mike Raines by a slim margin in Tuesday night's election --- another race that wasn't decided until Wednesday morning.

"My small committee we worked very very hard, but overall it came out to be a winner," Reich said.

Tom Reich has been out of law enforcement for 13 years, but he says his heart never left.

Currently, Reich serves as the gaming director with the Bureau of State Lottery. Before that, he spent 25 years with the Ingham County Sheriff's Office and now he's switching gears again.

"I want to be sheriff, I want to fix the problems that I've seen," Reich said.

Reich says his campaign was challenging at times, but after months of knocking on doors and working to get his message out, he says he's ready to move forward.

"I'll be moving on into that position in January, so I'm looking forward to it."

He says the county needs stronger leadership and he wants to improve collaboration with local police departments as well as Michigan State Police.

Incumbent Sheriff Mike Raines declined an interview, but one person who worked with him talked about his input.

"Mike Raines was a very common sense kind of guy," said Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

Sen. Jones is the former Eaton County Sheriff and he worked with Sheriff Raines for more than 30 years.

"During the Potterville train derailment, Mike Raines was my right hand throughout the entire incident and some other natural disasters and everything went just the way it needed to," Sen. Jones said.

The man who will soon take office is also hoping to work with Sheriff Raines to ensure a smooth transition.

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