With the runoff election for Taylor County Sheriff coming on July 31st, there seems to be more and more undecided voters paying close attention to the race Incumbent Les Bruce and his challenger, Deputy Sheriff Ricky Bishop squared off on a televised debate earlier this week to send their message to Taylor County.KTXS and the Abilene Reporter-News brought us the debate between Bruce and Bishop. After months of campaigning, this may be the final opportunity for the candidates to have such an opportunity to push their message across to Taylor County's undecided voters. The incumbent was asked about his refusal to take a drug test. Both of  his opponents did before the general election. His response,

That has been a huge part of the negative portion of this campaign. That challenge was…the biggest red herring I’ve ever seen in my life. That challenge was made by someone that has an ax to grind with the Taylor county government, with the Taylor County Sheriff’s office…there’s no experienced law enforcement person in this community…that would ever, ever succumb to a drug test in a public restroom, outside the realms of a clean environment…so I have strong feelings about that. But I will say to you today, personally speaking — Les Bruce personally speaking — on May 16th I decided, and I went and visited with my physician, and I submitted to a drug test. And obviously, and of course, it was negative. And as I said, it was quite pricey, and I paid for that myself. No campaign funds.

The challenger, Deputy Sheriff Ricky Bishop, was asked why he is running against his boss:

I feel like there’s been some policies put into place that’s hindering our operation. One being on the speed policy. We’re not allowed to exceed the posted speed limit to make a traffic stop, and I don’t agree with that. Traffic stops, you’re not only catching your speeders, other traffic violations, you’re arresting criminals. Most of the criminals I’ve arrested have been in traffic stops. And, when they speed, we’re not allowed to stop those people.

The debate also addressed the issue of Taylor County Jail escapees, and the fact that there have been three incidents while Bruce has been sheriff. His response:

We have reviewed and reviewed and reviewed...But the thing about these particular incidents is the professionalism, the aptitude and the response by the investigative divisions…we have been very fortunate. We have been very professional when these incidents do occur. And they do happen, we have been very very blessed…in knowing exactly, in the majority of these to where these people are in the vicinity and we have been able to retrieve them and re-incarcerate those people very very quickly.

Asked for the biggest reason that he entered the Taylor County Sheriff's race, Bishop stated:

I care about this county, and I’ve been hearing a lot of issues coming from the citizens of the county…concerns that they have…they don’t see the sheriff out in the county, they’re not seeing the crime rate drop like they expected it to…I feel like I’ve got a little bit more to offer and can better protect the citizens of the county.

If you missed it, the full debate can be viewed in two parts. Click here to watch Part 1 of the debate. Click here to watch Part 2.

Did you learn anything new from this debate? Do you know who you will be voting for? Did the debate change your opinion of the candidates?