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El Dorado County Sheriff race neck and neck

By: Raheem Hosseini Telegraph Correspondent
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Appropriately, the combative race to become El Dorado County’s next sheriff was a neck-and-neck battle most of Election Night. With all 152 of the county’s precincts reporting, a couple percentage points separated likely victor John D’Agostini, an Amador County district attorney investigator, from his challenger, El Dorado County sheriff’s Capt. Craig Therkildsen. By Wednesday morning, unofficial tallies gave D’Agostini 51.16 percent of the vote to Therkildsen’s 48.55 percent. A mere 1,287 votes separated the two men. Mail-in ballots have yet to be counted. By 10:34 p.m. Tuesday, D’Agostini's lead was even slimmer, and the two candidates alternated leads as the El Dorado County Elections Office updated its results after the polls closed. Before Election Night, the two candidates were trading barbs in an increasingly heated race that saw two men with similar positions on concealed weapons permits, resident deputies and the department’s fiscal climate look for ways to differentiate themselves. D’Agostini was charged with pandering to bikers with disputed ties to motorcycle gangs during an appearance in Placerville several weeks ago, while critics accused Therkildsen supporters of misusing department funds to get their candidate elected. While the next sheriff’s goals — chief among them facing a multimillion-dollar deficit — may be the same, “how to get there is the difference,” Therkildsen, a multi-decade veteran of the department and commander of the county jail, said before the election. D’Agostini, seeking office in his home county while working a drug task force in neighboring Amador, said voters have legitimate concerns whether someone so ingrained in the department can make necessary changes. “The sheriff’s office is one of the only public agencies that can engage in a public relations campaign on a daily basis, and that (focus) does set me apart from my opponent,” he said.