PEORIA — The man picked by the last sheriff to serve out the rest of his term became the people's choice on Tuesday.
Brian Asbell was elected Peoria County sheriff in a closely watched race with Bartonville police Chief Brian Fengel that ultimately ended in a lopsided result: Asbell won with 59 percent of the vote.
Fengel earned a total of 25,734 votes to Asbell's tally of 37,186 votes.
Asbell has been serving as sheriff on an interim basis since Mike McCoy stepped down last year to become police chief in Washington. McCoy had been sheriff for 15 years.
Asbell had been an undersheriff during the McCoy administration, overseeing the jail as superintendent. During his tenure in that position, the jail achieved national accreditation for health care.
Asbell could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.
Fengel said he called Asbell to congratulate him on the victory.
"One thing I do know is we worked our tail off and we put the work into it," Fengel said. "That's all you can do. ... We had a great team with thousands of volunteers who helped — and they all worked tirelessly."
Fengel had campaigned on a law-and-order platform, promising to re-evaluate the entire department.
Asbell promoted his version of progressive policing, pledging to work to solve the root of crime through more comprehensive services at the jail.
Matt Buedel can be reached at 686-3154 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JournoBuedel.