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Sheriffs race takes an ugly turn

The race for Clackamas County Sheriff has taken a turn toward the nasty in recent weeks, with each candidate facing formal ethical complaints.

Incumbent Sheriff Craig Roberts is facing Rick LaManna III in the upcoming election. LaManna's campaign manager, Josh Henningsen has also entered the race, though he isn't running a serious campaign. Both LaManna and Roberts are charged with foul play.

Harassment allegations

LaManna's campaign has filed a complaint with the Secretary of State's office alleging that Clackamas County Sheriff's deputies are harassing businesses that display LaManna signs.

Pamplin Media Group newspapers recently received a few e-mails that claim supporters of LaManna, have been harassed by sheriff's deputies, and that LaManna signs were replaced by a number of Roberts signs.

To that, Roberts says, 'I have no information that anybody is following these people.'

Roberts addressed one of the complaints, lodged by businessman Jim Smith.

'First of all, he's a huge financial supporter of Mr. LaManna,' Roberts said. And regarding the charge that deputies replaced LaManna signs with a large number of Roberts signs, Roberts said, 'I literally have hundreds of people who want signs. I've been out of signs for two weeks. People want signs, and we don't have any. I just find that ironic.'

He said he has spent about $10,000 on signs for his campaign, and wouldn't waste that on a 'lame' prank.

CCPOA complaint

Early on in the election, the Clackamas County Peace Officers Association filed a complaint with state and county elections officials against LaManna, claiming that he didn't establish residency a year before the election, as required by law.

The elections office found that LaManna did establish residency in October 2007.

The CCPOA also claimed that LaManna tried to get support to run in Washington County as late as December 2007 before deciding to run in Clackamas.

Though LaManna just moved into Clackamas County in October, he said he has roots here as his parents and grandparents lived here.

He said the fact he's not embroiled in the system is a benefit.

'I do believe (being an outsider) brings some objectivity,' LaManna said. 'If you stand too close to the fire sometimes you can't see the individual flames.'

He said it will help him craft policies and goals for the department objectively, as well.

'Is this how I would design this were I able to do it on a fresh sheet of paper,' LaManna said, not referring to a specific policy but to any changes that would be made. 'And that's the objectivity piece I think being an outsider does bring. I'm not encumbered by cultural loyalty.'