The replacement for Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever on the Nov. 6 ballot will likely be chosen today at a Cochise County Republican Party meeting.
Dever was running unopposed for his fifth term in office before his death in a vehicle crash Tuesday.
The law allows the Republican Party to select a substitute candidate to take his ballot spot, but it must make that decision by 2 p.m. today to ensure ballots can be printed Saturday as planned.
The Cochise County Republican Party has called a meeting for noon today for the 83 precinct committee members, said Matt Creegan, Cochise County Republican chairman. They will take a vote to choose from three candidates:
• Rod Rothrock, the chief deputy of the Cochise County Sheriff's Office who became the acting sheriff upon Dever's death.
• Mark Dannels, a retired Cochise County sheriff's commander who worked under Dever.
• Billy Cloud, the Tombstone marshal who lost to Dever in the 2008 Republican primary.
The winner will have until 2 p.m. to turn in his paperwork at county headquarters, Creegan said. If the Cochise County GOP cannot make a decision, or if the person it chooses fails to get his proper paperwork in on time, the next sheriff would be chosen in a write-in election Nov. 6, said Cochise County Attorney Ed Rheinheimer.
Rothrock, Dever's chief deputy, has assumed the sheriff position now as constituted by law. The Cochise County Board of Supervisors will select a replacement to complete the remaining 3 1/2 months of Dever's current term, Rheinheimer said. That may be Rothrock, he said.