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Essex County sheriff faces re-election challenge

As sheriff, Tyler said he would practice fiscal responsibility, citing his experience as a Westport town councilman and trustee. He pointed to the state Department of Correctional Services as a model of working with limited resources.

"They're trying to get the best bang for their buck," Tyler said. "Money is tight, and taxpayers can't afford to see higher costs."

But, Hommes said he not only oversaw the construction of Essex County's new $34 million, 120-bed county jail, but is now working to recoup the investment through housing federal inmates.

"We are trying to lighten the burden on the county taxpayer," he said.

The Essex County Republican Committee meets Tuesday, March 31, and is expected to endorse candidates for sheriff and district attorney. So far, no other candidates have been declared in the sheriff's race.

Tyler said he hasn't decided whether he'll force a primary vote if doesn't' get GOP backing.

"I'll have to wait and see," he said. "I'll make my move after the committee's made its move."

Hommes said he announced his intent to run for a fourth four-year term in February. Both men are Republicans and could face one another in a primary vote this September.

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