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Write-in Candidate for Sheriff Challenges Piper to Debate

The write-in candidate for Forsyth County Sheriff held a press conference Thursday challenging his opponent to a debate.

The man who recently announced he is a write-in candidate for sheriff of Forsyth County has challenged his opponent, Duane Piper, to a debate.

David Townsend, known as "DT" Smith, a lieutenant colonel with the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office, told a crowd of about 40 on the steps of the Forsyth County Administration Building Thursday why he is pushing for a debate.

"I respect my opponent," said Smith in a news release. "We worked together on the SWAT team. I also respect the citizens of Forsyth County and that's why I am taking this opportunity to challenge him to a debate so voters will have a chance to see us both in person, ask us questions and hear about our vision for the sheriff's office."

Piper, a former lieutenant with the FCSO, narrowly defeated incumbent Sheriff Ted Paxton in the Aug. 21 primary runoff election.

Smith explained in the news release he did not enter this year's primary due to a promise he made to Paxton in 2000. That year Smith lost to Paxton in the election, but was later hired by Paxton with the promise he would not campaign against him in the future.

Fast-forward 12 years later, Smith saw an opportunity to realize his lifelong dream of becoming sheriff after Paxton lost the election.

Following the press conference, Smith said he was hopeful that the Forsyth County Tea Party (FCTP) or Forsyth County Tea Party Alliance (FCTPA) would sponsor the debate.

But in response, Hal Schneider, chair of the FCTP, wrote in an e-mail to Cumming Patch:

The Forsyth County Tea Party endorsed Duane Piper in the primary election and we will be standing by that endorsement. Our reasons for endorsing Duane have not changed since DT Smith entered the race.

At this point we do not have any plans to sponsor another debate for the sheriff’s race, however, it is a topic that will be discussed next month in our Leadership Meeting.

It is also unlikely that the FCTPA will sponsor a sheriff’s debate due to time constraints, according Bob Frey, spokesperson for the party.

Smith, a 35-year law enforcement veteran, spent 23 of those years in the trenches as a police officer, a deputy sheriff, and first line supervisor. He also spent 12 years on the command staff in an executive position with the FCSO and in 2010 was promoted to Director of Headquarters Bureau.

He and his wife Kim have been married 17 years and have five children. They are currently in the process of adopting another child. Over the past 15 years, the Smith's have been parents and foster parents to 25 children. They are also members of Mountain Lake Church.

While Smith's name will not appear on the ballot during the Nov. 6 general election, he was certified as a write-in candidate by the Forsyth County Voter Registrations & Elections Department.

Department Supervisor Barbara Luth explained what supporters of Smith would have to do to cast their ballot for the write-in candidate.

"They will have to push the write-in button and it will bring up the keyboard for them to put in DT Smith," she said.

Voters at this point would have to type in his name and hit enter. On the paper ballots voters would write in Smith's name on "write-in line," according to Luth.

Read more about Lt. Col. DT Smith on his political website.

As of this writing Duane Piper has not responded to our call and e-mail.

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

Joshua September 22, 2012 at 03:28 AM
this is something i'd like to watch.
Nicole September 22, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Hopefully the FTCPA will sponser a debate! It's important to evaluate all candidates. After all ther winner is going to be Sherif forf the next 4 years and I would like to know who I'm voting for!
Harold September 22, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Why should Piper debate Smith?
Geoff Maxell October 05, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Like piper said in his first debate, get to know your canidate. Frankly, Piper is under qualified. He is only a Lt. and has only been so for the last 3 years! How can you run a sheriif's office with no real police mangement experience? If piper has anything to bring to the table a debate would highlight that. I take my right to vote very seriously and I think debates are the best way to view canidates and their views.
Chris October 09, 2012 at 06:09 PM
This "debate" has already taken place in my opinion. This hack commented he was only running as a write-in because he promised he would not run against Paxton. That tells me he supported Paxton and the way Paxton chose to operate the department. If we wanted a Paxton clone, we would have re-elected Paxton and simply had the real thing. I'm not interested in any carbon copies. He should resign from the race and resign from the department. Both are better off without him.
Chris October 09, 2012 at 06:12 PM
People run for office without experience in the field all the time. Tell me, what political experience did George Washington have? Obama ... and many others in between. Paxton needed to go and Piper was the best alternative to choose from. You don't need a debate to know what Townsend believes. This hack commented he was only running as a write-in because he promised he would not run against Paxton. That tells me he supported Paxton and the way Paxton chose to operate the department. Enough said.
Chris October 09, 2012 at 06:13 PM
He shouldn't. Smith already said how he feels ... he's nothing more than a Paxton clone. So if you wanted Paxton, vote for Smith. If you wanted something different, vote for Piper.
Joshua October 09, 2012 at 06:54 PM
@Chris Are you sure he's different? Piper's actions haven't lead me to believe that he'd be frugal with money.
Chris October 09, 2012 at 07:18 PM
@Joshua. We know Smith isn't different. That's a guarantee. Piper? Well, he'll have four years to prove he is a man of his word. If he lied, we'll go shopping again in four years. But that's how the system works. Am I sure? No, but the alternative was a sure thing I didn't want. I may not want Romney either but he's better than the devil I know.
Joshua October 09, 2012 at 10:03 PM
@Chris Eh. Don't even get me started on how much Romney scares me...lol. I just hope we are able to hold their feet to the fire for these next 4 years.
Linda October 14, 2012 at 12:36 PM
So what if he did support Paxton?? The only reason Piper won in the first place is that so many of the voters who voted in the primary did not get out for the run-off election - this should certainly be a lesson to them! Smith qualified as a write-in candidate and this is a new election. The "hack," as you call Smith is definitely more qualified than Piper. Sounds to me like a lot of you are only voting against someone without really knowing much about who you are voting for. I made that mistake a couple of times but won't do so again!
Connie Mason October 19, 2012 at 03:13 PM
What makes me sick about all of this is people who want to have something to say about everything but knows nothing!!! This Co. Needs someone with experience not someone who refuses to do what is needed to stay on the force to start with, that's why he was let go to begin with because he refused to take the certification classes!!! It's pathetic how many people are in this Co. And want get off their Arsh and vote but want to run their mouth's!!! DT has been on the force for years and no one is saying he's perfect but at least he complies with what is needed to be done!!!
Mark October 23, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Wasn't going to cast a vote for Sheriff, but reading about the candidates and then seeing Piper being the Tea Party candidate is all one needs to know. The Tea Party has a track record of making endorsements of candidates that are inexperienced, incompetent, and often downright loony, all in the name of their religious ideology. They've done it repeatedly for national office and it appears that trend has trickled down to the local level. Say 'No!' to America's Taliban and their hack candidates.

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