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Ashe to seek re-election, Dedman close
Oct 24, 2005 12:00 am
October 21, 2005
The political shuffling in county government widely expected to accompany the 2006 elections may not come to pass if two incumbent officeholders have anything to say about it.
Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe announced Thursday he will seek a seventh term as the county's highest ranking law enforcement official, quashing rampant speculation he might have his sights set on the county mayor's seat.
In recent months, Ashe said he had held "informal conversations" with judicial officials, the Attorney General's staff and Public Defender's staff, all of whom expressed interest in seeing the completion of the county's jail expansion and other criminal justice projects "under competent leadership."
"I know all too well that these are very important projects that require a lot of time and expertise of which I have acquired in this field," a formal statement issued by Ashe read. "These projects are too important to leave unattended before their completion."
During an interview with The Lebanon Democrat on Thursday afternoon, Ashe said his decision was largely intended to ease the minds of the 150 employees of the WCSD. Uncertainty for the department's employees would follow a change in department leadership, Ashe remarked.
Noting a new sheriff "can fire everybody," Ashe said he announced his decision to seek re-election earlier than in past years, in part, to give his employees a "sense of stability" as the holiday season approaches.
"The best thing that's happened around here is that my decision has put a lot of smiles on the faces of employees," he said, noting he had informed employees of his decision Wednesday. "I think there'd been some questions about whether I was going to run for (county) mayor or the Senate … I'm not interested in that right now."
Ashe, whose name was batted about as a possible successor to longtime Wilson County Mayor Robert Dedman, said his decision was not based on Dedman's political outlook.
As he has for the past several months, Dedman remained on the fence regarding any plans for re-election but, for the first time, hinted he will likely seek another term in office.
"I'm leaning that way. I'm going to wait just a little while longer to make my official – to be 100 percent sure, but I'm real close to doing it," Dedman said Thursday. "I enjoy my job, and I enjoy meeting the people and waiting on them. We've done a lot in the last eight years, and I'd like to do some more."
While Dedman continued to ponder his plans, Ashe said he is "mentally prepared" for another countywide campaign.
"I've got a fund-raiser scheduled in November," he said. "We'll be publicizing it pretty quickly, and we're off and going."
Staff Writer Brian Harville can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 16 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.