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Wes Cantrell Leads State House Race

Sheriff's Candidates Express Confidence in Tuesday's Outcome

For Duane Piper the challenge is winning another election so soon after the Repubican Primary. For Write-in candidate DT Smith the challenge is having voters write-in his name instead of just tapping the screen.

With just a few days left before the election, the two candidates for Forsyth County Sheriff expressed confidence in the outcome.

Former Sheriff's Lt. Duane Piper, who defeated three-term incumbent Ted Paxton in the Republican Primary, said, "I'm very confident. We've run a well-planned, well-executed campaign."

Piper began building his campaign team a year ago. "I believe the voters are looking for a sheriff who is forward-thinking and plans ahead, not one who gets into the race in the final hour as a write-in candidate."

As challengers often do, Piper received a significant number of anti-incumbent votes during the primary. A key question is will those voters vote for him again now that Paxton is no longer the opponent.

Asked about that segment of the voting population, Piper said, "I'm absolutely confident that our support has and will remain steadfast."

Piper has the endorsement of the Forsyth County Tea Party and, as the Republican nominee, the backing of the Forsyth County Republican Party as well.

"I'll be a forward thinking sheriff," he said. "I have a tendency to plan ahead and not make last-minute decisions. I recognize the need to improve the sheriff's office every day."

The cornerstone of Piper's campaign was his pledge to reduce the budget.

"We need to manage the public's money wisely and win back the public trust," he said. "I've proposed to cut the budget and the budget will be cut."

At Paxton's request, the Board of Commissioners has already trimmed the sheriff's budget by $5.1 million for next year. But that money has been placed into a special fund that will be available to the next sheriff.

Smith is the write-in candidate and a Republican. The challenge for him is that his name will not appear on the ballot. His voters will have to write his name in.

Smith said he chose not to run in the primary in order to keep his word to Paxton. He ran against Paxton in 2000 and lost. But was later hired by the sheriff with the promise that he wouldn't run against him in the future.

Smith is a veteran law enforcement officer who rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel and became a member of Paxton's command staff. Asked about his confidence level two days out from Election Day, he said, "I feel real good about our chances. When we got started, everyone said it would be an uphill battle for a write-in candidate. But what I'm hearing now is very positive. The elections office tells me there have been a lot of inquiries from voters about how to vote for a write-in candidate. That gives me a good feeling about our chances."

Smith said he's run an issues-oriented campaign.

"The message has been that I'll continue to deliver the same quality of service the county has become accustomed to for the next four years," he said.

"My whole campaign has been built around my experience and training being so much more than my opponent. I've had 12 years of senior management training. When people look at that and compare our qualifications, the choice is clear."

Smith questioned his opponent's pledge to cut the budget.

"My opponent says he'll cut $5 million from the budget. That's not doable without cutting services. He'd have to gut the sheriff's office by 71 positions. When you eliminate that many positions, you're going to have to cut services."

Smith said he would address any budgetary excess by expanding the certified reserve unit. Currently there are nine people in that unit.

"I'd like to expand that to as many as 75 by the end of my first term, he said. "They would take over some duties like horse patrol or lake patrol so that paid deputies could be assigned to other tasks. My opponent says those things are unnecessary, but I don't see how he can say that, particularly with the lake patrol since we've had an increased number of fatalities on the lake this year."

Read more about Duane Piper here and DT Smith here.

Editor's Note: Cumming Patch is not affiliated with nor endorses any political party, organization or candidate running for public office.

David November 05, 2012 at 10:15 PM
DT Smith for Sheriff. He is by far the most qualified person to lead this position.
Beci Ricks November 05, 2012 at 10:23 PM
I feel D.T.Smith would be the best choice for sheriff for the Forsyth county.

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