It’s not hard now to know what we do about Sheriff Jones, why he dislikes the Ohio Representative of the 53rd District so much. I still tell all the people who now dislike the good Sheriff that he has done many good things over the years, and his brand has been good for the Republican Party and the first Trump term. Whether or not he continues to hold that lofty position is up to him. So far, he is turning hard left and headed for Mike DeWine country. But that’s his decision. Politics is a blood sport, and blood does get spilled. And that’s certainly the case with the feud between Thomas Hall and Sheriff Jones. Learning what I have, this problem goes far beyond just disagreements over sponsored bills or even kissing the ring by the youth to the elderly. Instead, it looks like insecurity that many older people go through when they realize a younger generation is replacing them. It can be hard to look in the mirror and acknowledge that you are no longer that guy. And for a guy with an ego the size of Sheriff Jones, of course, getting to the end of a long career in law enforcement will stir up emotions. After endorsing Thomas Hall for his next election, where Jones is trying to primary him out of contention, I stopped by the Statehouse in Columbus to see how Thomas was holding up. It’s been a rough campaign. Like many politicians, they have no idea really when the primary will happen. It’s set for May, but it might change to August. And in Thomas’s case, he doesn’t even know what district he’s running for because the Supreme Court might change it based on district mapping disputes. Yet, when I found Thomas in his natural habitat, I noticed that he was calm, cool, and sure of himself. And he quickly mentioned to me that Sheriff Jones’ labor union had endorsed him.
Thomas told me all the measures he was taking to get re-elected, including all the door-to-door campaigns he had, regardless of how the districting broke down. We also talked strategy about the negative hits by Sheriff Jones. But now that the smoke had settled from the WLW incident back in November, where Jones went way out of his way to attempt to disparage Thomas in detrimentally belittling ways, the report from the outskirts of Butler County was that the Sheriff was losing his support. People in the rural parts of the county were always skeptical of Jones. They see him as more of a bully than a good cop, and that perception was already in place before Thomas Hall came into politics. The Sheriff is popular with the levy supporting Lakota moms and the big-government liberals, but not so much the rugged self-doers. When Jones supported Trump with them, they liked him. Now that he’s supporting Governor DeWine and is much more on the left than they are, they look at him with squinted eyes of skepticism. And in that way, most of Thomas Hall’s district falls under that category, so the attempts by Jones to disparage Hall have actually seemed to help the young congressman because he provides a protest vote to Jones.
Thomas and I spent quite a lot of time catching up, walking through the rotunda and eventually down into the atrium with the giant Greek pillars standing as testaments of law and order. We took a few pictures and continued to talk about the campaign and his goals for his second term. But along the way, the Governor was walking around in the rotunda, taking pictures with whoever wanted them, so there was a significant police presence everywhere. While we talked, Thomas Hall stopped by each one along our path, thanked them for their service, and showed them how much he appreciated them. They were highly appreciative and receptive. This went on with a frequency that stopped our conversation about every 30 seconds. My thought at the time was that Thomas was doing this for my sake, so I wondered if he did that kind of thing all the time. After taking a few pictures, he had to run off for a session, and we parted ways. But my curiosity wondered if, even in a bit of a hurry and without me around, he would continue to shake hands with all the officers on his way back to his office.
It was a formal occasion that day, so I was dressed in a suit like everyone else. It was easy for me to hang way back and follow Thomas Hall to his office. He didn’t know I was following as I blended into the crowd. And sure enough, he stopped by every officer, not the same ones as before, of course, and shook their hand and showed them how much he appreciated them. Now Thomas Hall is the son of the old cop who stopped the shooting at Madison Schools a few years prior. Hall grew up with a love of law enforcement and public service, which is why as such a young man, he is already moving toward another term as a House Rep after a past as a trustee in his community. But this reverence for the police was not fake. He didn’t know I was watching him, yet he was very sincere about it. Like I say all the time, don’t listen to what people say; watch what they do. The police of Butler County know what kind of young man Thomas Hall is, and they like him. And that looks to be the problem Sheriff Jones has with him. It’s more a problem that Jones has than what Thomas has. And when the Sheriff’s own police union supported Thomas Hall despite of the activism of Jones, the direction of the campaign was clearly headed in a direction favorable to Hall. The police can see where the future is, and Thomas Hall is their guy. And deservedly so.
I always enjoy learning these kinds of things about people. We live in a world full of fake people and broken promises. There are few people out there who actually exceed expectations. I already liked Thomas Hall before our meeting at the Statehouse of Ohio, in those grand chambers of intellect and the pursuit of justice. But after watching him work with people and his behavior when he didn’t know anybody was looking, I knew that there was a lot special about Thomas Hall. It’s a shame that Sheriff Jones is trying to put a rift in the Butler County Republican Party the way he is. I understand that fear of becoming irrelevant. I would even think of it as a forgivable situation. Nobody wants to see the memory of the Sheriff be like that old dog that bit some little kid at the end of its life, erasing all the good things that had occurred over its lifetime. But that is for the Sheriff to work out for himself. The police and voters where it matters were clearly happy with Thomas Hall, and he was certainly willing to do whatever it took to defend his House seat. And he was confident the way unbeaten people in life usually are. And when you are as good and sincere as Thomas Hall is, it looks clear that he will remain unbeaten for the foreseeable future. Thomas Hall is the man of law enforcement, and the police know it and will reward him accordingly.