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Riewestahl wins EC County Democratic sheriff's primary

Dan Holtz (Leader-Telegram)

Aug 9, 2022

EAU CLAIRE — David Riewestahl won the battle in Tuesday’s Democratic primary to determine who will face Republican Don Henning in November in the Eau Claire County sheriff’s race.

Riewestahl defeated Kevin Otto in a contest between two men who have a combined 38 years of experience working for the Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office.

Riewestahl got 54.6% of the votes and defeated Otto 5,549 to 4,589.

Both men touted experience as a reason why they should advance to the Nov. 8 election.

Riewestahl and Otto have been with the Sheriff’s Office for 15 and 23 years, respectively.

Riewestahl, 42, is a captain with the Sheriff’s Office and currently serves as the Eau Claire County Jail administrator.

During his time with the Sheriff’s Office, Riewestahl has served as a correctional officer, patrol deputy, patrol sergeant and lieutenant/assistant jail administrator.

While with the Sheriff’s Office, Riewestahl has also taken on the responsibilities of field training officer, conduct report hearing officer, honor guard member, leader and commander, evidence technician, crisis negotiator, computer forensic investigator, recreation patrol officer and a SWAT operator. After graduating from Altoona High School, Riewestahl spent five years in the Army before attending UW-Milwaukee to earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

Otto, 47, is a sergeant with the Sheriff’s Office and is assigned to the jail. Otto began as a correctional officer at the Eau Claire County Jail in 1999, became a field training officer in 2002 and sergeant in 2010.

Riewestahl said the biggest issues facing the Sheriff’s Office is the staff recruitment and retention crisis for both patrol deputies and jail corrections officers, and re-connecting with the community.

This is both Riewestahl’s and Otto’s first attempt at elected public office. Riewestahl is married with two children.

Incumbent Republican Sheriff Ron Cramer is not seeking re-election in November and will retire at the end of his term in early January. Cramer, 67, announced in February that he will not seek another four-year term this fall. Cramer has been with the Sheriff’s Office for 47 years. He started as a jailer at the age of 19 in 1975. Cramer decided just six weeks before the election in 1996 to run for sheriff as a write-in Republican. He defeated Democratic incumbent Dick Hewitt and was sworn in in January 1997. He has been re-elected ever since.

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