Voters in Bedford County will choose a Republican nominee for sheriff Tuesday and recent campaign finance reports suggest a hotly contested race.
Mike Miller, a captain with the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office, has led the field in fundraising. Since declaring his candidacy earlier this year, he has raised more than $25,000 in donations, including in-kind contributions, according to reports filed with the Virginia Department of Elections.
Kent Robey, a former captain with the sheriff’s office and a retired special agent with the Federal Air Marshal Service, is close behind Miller with more than $22,000 in contributions. David Wells, a former Roanoke County police officer and the son of retired Bedford County Sheriff Carl Wells, has raised nearly $10,000.
The candidates have largely spent the money on advertising and campaign supplies, reports show.
Each is hoping to secure the GOP nomination Tuesday. The winner will face two independent candidates in the general election: Tim Hayden, a captain with the sheriff’s office; and James Kirkland, the sheriff’s office’s longest-serving K-9 handler.
The fall election will determine who will succeed longtime Sheriff Mike Brown. Brown, a Republican, will retire at the end of the year after six terms in office. He has not endorsed any candidates.
South of Bedford County in the 15th Senate district, which includes parts of Campbell County, recent campaign finance reports highlight the advantage of a longtime incumbent over his upstart challenger.
Dale Sturdifen, a retired state trooper and member of the Mecklenburg County School Board, is running against Sen. Frank Ruff, R-Mecklenburg County, in the GOP primary.
Ruff, who has held the seat since 2000, has relied on a network of donors to secure a significant fundraising advantage over Sturdifen. According to campaign finance reports, Ruff has taken in nearly $92,000 in donations since the start of the year, including in-kind contributions.
Much of that money has poured in in recent weeks because state legislators are banned from fundraising while the General Assembly is meeting in Richmond. The 46-day annual session ended in February.
Sturdifen, meanwhile, has raised $5,100 from a handful of donors.
Richard Chumney covers breaking news and public safety for The News & Advance. Reach him at (434) 385-5547.