RANDOLPH COUNTY — The field of candidates in the Randolph County Sheriff's race was cut from four to two last week, as Republican and Libertarian voters determined Greg Seabolt and Eric Hicks would square off in the November general election.
Republican Sheriff Robert Graves was defeated by Seabolt, a former State Highway Patrol trooper, in one primary. Hicks prevailed in the Libertarian primary, defeating Adam Brooks.
Seabolt pulled in 6,523 votes, or 52 percent, while Graves received 49 percent, a total of 6,278 votes.
“The main reason we won is our support base,” Seabolt said. “We had a huge number of supporters who came out and had the same vision I did.”
Graves was running for his first elected term after he was selected by the executive committee of the Randolph County Republican Party to succeed the late Sheriff Maynard Reid. The executive committee, made up about 70 members, includes GOP elected officials in the county, precinct chairmen and other Republican leaders. Graves received 53 votes, while Seabolt – the only other candidate nominated – garnered 15.
“I think the way he got into the office helped us,” Seabolt said. “He was received as the incumbent. The executive committee had already made their mind up on who they wanted to be their sheriff.
“I haven't taken a day off since we started. We're proud of it. … I'm not taking anything for granted.”
Hicks, who ran as a Republican challenger for sheriff four years ago and lost to the late former Sheriff Maynard Reid in the GOP primary, had initially announced his intention to run again this year as a Republican candidate. Hicks then announced he would instead switch to the Libertarian Party.
A former Thomasville Police officer, Hicks said a primary goal of his switch to the Libertarian Party was to ensure Randolph County voters have a contested race for sheriff in the general election. His ultimate goal, Hicks told the A-T News, was to beat the GOP system and allow the registered voters to have a voice.
After the May primary, he will have the chance to see his name appear on a November ballot.
No Democrat is running for sheriff. Seabolt, who served in the Highway Patrol for 30 years, is making his first bid for elected office.
Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.