Pixley, who is running for reelection, was openly critical of Gov. Kate Brown's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

PMG FILE PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Columbia County Sheriff Brian Pixley has picked up the endorsement of the county Republican Party as he runs for reelection.Running for a second term this fall as Columbia County sheriff, Brian Pixley picked up the endorsement of the local Republican Party on Wednesday, Sept. 21.

Pixley was first elected in 2018, winning a three-way race to become sheriff. At the time, he was a lieutenant and public information officer with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

This year, Pixley is running for reelection against Terry Massey, an officer with the St. Helens Police Department.

"It has been a tough few years for law enforcement," said Traci Brumbles, chair of the Columbia County Republican Party, in a statement endorsing Pixley. "Staffing shortages, funding shortfalls, legalization of certain amounts of hard drugs and a massive increase in crime around the state has made providing public safety an incredible challenge."

Brumbles said the Columbia County Republican Central Committee believes Pixley is "up to the challenges and has made meaningful improvements to the Sheriff's Office."

Pixley hasn't left the job of patrolling Columbia County to his deputies alone — he has gone out on patrol "to help assure our communities remain safe," too, Brumbles added.

Pixley was one of two law enforcement officers who shot and killed a wanted murder suspect at a Scappoose tow yard in March. His body-worn camera recorded audio of the suspect exchanging gunfire with the sheriff before he was fatally shot. The Columbia County District Attorney's Office concluded that the shooting was justified.

Pixley also made headlines in August 2021 when the Sheriff's Office posted an open letter he wrote to its Facebook page, lambasting Gov. Kate Brown for her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and vowing not to enforce masking or vaccination requirements in Columbia County.

"I, and the other elected leaders in Columbia County, have the right to do what is in the best interest for our community," Pixley wrote in the letter. "Let us do so."

The Oregon Republican Party took note of Pixley's letter, republishing it on its own Facebook page and expressing the party's support.

The Columbia County Democratic Central Committee has not announced an endorsement for sheriff this year.

The shrieval election, which is officially nonpartisan, will be decided by voters countywide. Ballots are due by 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8.

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